We have concluded gymnastics/movement to music and have now begun our athletics unit in preparation for elementary sports day which is scheduled for the end of April. As a general introduction to athletics, I have had the students in grades 2 and 4 take part in a number of different throwing and running activities. At each grade level, we have discussed time and distance as it relates to throwing and running. In my grade 3 classes, I am integrating with the unit of inquiry happening in the classroom on ‘Forces’ and will write about this further in a separate blog. Please see other blog for grade 4 maths integration with Athletics.
In grade 2 the maths integration focus was to teach them about ordinal numbers as they relate to athletics and to help them to understand that when running races we aim to produce the lowest timed result possible. Throwing events are all about maximizing distance or in other words throwing an object as far as you can (the bigger the number, the better the result). The students sometimes get confused with these two and think that the higher the time, the better in a race. In order to help facilitate this understanding I set up a number of activities for the students.
Numbered dots (I have numerous sets of colored dots numbered between 1-10)
Laminated cards using following words: 1st(first), 2nd(second), 3rd(third), seconds, and meters
Grade 2 lesson breakdown
I had the numbered dots scattered in a corner of the gym. I set up 4 cones and, as a warm up, had the students run as many laps as they could during a 3-minute song. At the end of the song, the students were instructed to:
1) Run over to these numbered dots and stand on the dot that represents the number of laps run. The students compared their results but stayed on the dots
2) I then asked students to stand on two dots that showed the number of laps they ran. For example, if they ran 11 laps, they could have one foot on a 7 and one foot on a 4. They were not allowed to pick up and move any dots, so had to search for number combinations that equalled the number of laps run.
Once done the warm up, the students were sent over to different colored hula hoops that had been set up before the lesson. They were divided into 6 different teams with each team having its own colored hula hoop. On the far side of the gym, the same colored hula hoops were set up leaning against the wall. The activities done were as follows:
A) Have a relay race with each team member running to far side of gym reaching into hula hoop to touch wall and return as quickly as possible. Once complete the race, have quick discussion about what running fast means and looks like.
B) Race again but this time tell the students that they will be timed. At the end of the race, the best result is shared with the class. The best result was 37 seconds. The winning team was then asked to go over to numbered dots scattered in corner and bring me back the numbers that make up 37. The number 37 was then posted on the wall and the students had to choose the appropriate ordinal number (laminated card) to match (1st-First) and choose the appropriate unit of measurement (seconds). The cards were also posted. Key questions to ask were:
When we race again, do we want to produce a timed result that is higher than 37 or lower? A third of the class said “higher” which indicated to me that we needed to discuss further which we did.
C) We ran the race a third time and this time, I shared the top 3 results. The top 3 results were 36, 37, 38sec. It was a perfect time to introduce ordinal numbers 2nd and 3rd and to have to kids choose the appropriate numbered dots to match the time and to put these times in the correct position.
D) In the 4th race the students were given batons to use in the relay and asked whether or not they thought that using batons would slow the race down. Most agreed that using batons would slow the race down due to having to exchange. We ran the race and results were given. All results were slower as expected but still posted using numbered dots (old results were taken down)
E) As one of the last activities, I asked the students to think about how they could speed up their times in the baton relay race. They were encouraged to communicate and practice how to better exchange the baton. Inquiry was at work as they had to think their way through this process.
F) We ran the race again and all results were better than the previous race. These results were posted on the all.
A very good lesson which was well organized. Students really seemed to understand ordinal numbers as they relate to athletics and were able to understand where their timed results fit into these ordinal numbers.
Grade 4 Lesson Breakdown
The grade 4 lesson plan was very much similar to the grade 2 lesson plan described above. The main difference being that the grade 4 students were given their results in decimal point form. For example, some of their results from yesterday were 44.8, 46.2 and so on. They had to place these results in the correct order in terms of how each team finished the race. Bean bags were used as the decimal point. After each race new times were given and the students had to determine whether or not these results broke any of the previous time records. If so, they had to used numbered dots and post these results in correct order. Please see slide show below of grade 4s in action in yesterday’s PE class.