As a physical education teacher, you are always looking for effective and innovative ways to keep your students learning and engaged in your lesson plans. One of the greatest methods to achieve this is to include manipulative skills and sport-based PE station ideas in your gym class. These physical education stations can be utilized with any sort of sport or PE skill concept, and they may substantially enhance your students' abilities.
Incorporating PE skill stations in physical education classes
Physical education is an important part of the school curriculum, but it can sometimes be a challenge when you have overcrowded classes and limited equipment. To learn and remain on-task, students must be continuously engaged. One way to overcome this challenge is to introduce manipulative-skill and/or sport-specific skill stations into your class lessons. These stations might help you as a PE specialist to use the equipment you have in your gym or classroom and cut waiting times to improve interaction and learning.
Skill-based, activity stations are a series of short, focused movements that rotate throughout the class period. This allows students to have a variety of experiences and keeps them engaged in their learning. The stations can be super fun and tailored to the individual needs of each student, making sure that everyone has a chance to succeed. By introducing these types of PE skill stations into your lessons, you can help ensure that all students have a positive and active learning experience.
PE Skill Stations are Standards Based
A PE specialist should always create lessons that adhere to national, state, or district standards. Challenges conducted using skill stations are a fantastic strategy to help your students meet SHAPE America Standard 1 which states: The physically literate individual demonstrates competency in a variety of motor skills and movement patterns.*
Using skill and sports stations in a PE class allows for differentiation and student success. Differentiation is important because all students come to class with different levels of skill and experience. It's difficult to satisfy the demands of a large group of kids in a one-on-one situation, but with skill and sport-based stations, you have a great resource to diversify the activities to match the needs of each kid using some great ideas. It is also an excellent way to target those students who often finish early and are looking for something else to do.
By offering a variety of activities, utilizing several forms of PE equipment, you can also challenge your more gifted students while still providing support for those who need it. This type of station activity is ideal because it enables all students to be successful and enjoy their time in class.
How to set up physical education skill stations
When setting up your PE station activities, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, each station should have a specific focus or skill that you want your students to work on. The station activities you plan may depend on whether you are working with younger students or older students. It is important to make sure that the stations are challenging but also achievable for each student.
You will also need to consider the amount of time each station will take, and how much time you will allow for them to rotate to the next station. Also, determine how many students can practice each station at the same time without impacting the quality of learning. Once you have all of this information, you are ready to set up your stations!
Look at the video below to see some SNAG indoor golf stations "in action!"
Physical education classes may include manipulative skill units such as throwing, catching, kicking, striking, volleying, and dribbling. These units can be taught using stations and are best implemented with younger or less-experienced students to help them learn the correct cues and techniques.
Look below for a sample manipulative skill (overhand throw), 6 station PE lesson outline:
Sample manipulative skill station set - Overhand throw
Here are some example stations that might be included in your class when you teach the overhand throw. You can attach point values for success from a variety of distances:
Throwing at a wall target
Overhand throw to Knockdown a set of bowling pins
Aiming to throw an object inside a horizontal cone sitting on a chair
Throwing through a hula hoop that is held by a partner
Overhand throw attempting to have an implement land on top of a poly spot
Throwing back and forth from different distances with a partner
Older or more experienced students can concentrate on movement skills in a PE sports unit. These skills are specific to the sport being taught. The cradling, scooping, catching, passing, and shooting skills used in lacrosse are examples of this sort of station focus. The beauty of physical education sport-skill stations is that they can be used with any concept or skill, and they are easily adaptable to the needs of your students.
Look below for a sample sport-based skill (soccer), 6 station PE lesson outline:
Sample sport-based station set - Soccer skills
Here are some sample stations that may be included in your class to teach the concepts and skills for soccer:
Soccer Juggling- keep the soccer ball in the air using, feet, knees, chest, and hands
Circle Jog Dribble- dribble around cones set in a circular pattern
Partner Passing/Trapping- pass and trap back and forth with a partner
Shoot at the keeper- dribble to a set of cones and shoot at a small soccer goal with a goalkeeper in front
Pass and Move- Dribble and pass a ball up and down a field or court with a partner
Bowling pin kick- kick at a set of bowling pins to try and earn points
Skill Station Tips
Stations are a fantastic approach to teaching manipulative skills or sport-specific skills in the gym, but there are a few things to bear in mind when you use them. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your skill station time:
Make sure each station has a clear focus or skill that you want your students to work on
Give verbal instructions and include teacher expectations for each station
Use sectioned-off station areas and provide ample room for students to move and play.
Keep the stations interesting and accessible to each student, and make sure there are a variety of levels for all students to be successful
If at all possible, include pictures with graphics and instructions at each station. Make them student-friendly and easy to comprehend
Rotate students through stations on a set gym timer so that everyone has a chance to participate in each one
As your students move and learn, move around and offer individual feedback
Keep track of which stations students enjoy and benefit from the most and make sure to include them in future physical education lessons
Check out the video below to see some soccer stations "in action!"
Physical education skill stations are a great way to help students learn new skills, have fun, and get some much-needed individual attention from their teachers. The stations assist you in making the most of your space and equipment limitations as a PE teacher. With a little planning and preparation, you can make sure that your students have a great time while they learn important physical education concepts and skills!
If you have any questions or suggestions about using stations in physical education, please share them with us in the comments section below!
*SHAPE America. (2013). National Standards for K-12 Physical Education. Reston, VA: Author.
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