Helping Students Understand The Components of Fitness
by Joey Feith
Five years ago, I created an infographic for my physical education classes that explained the components of fitness. The idea was to have descriptions of the different components of fitness all in one place to help my students better learn and understand the variables that affect their own fitness. Here it is:
I worked really hard on that infographic and I’m still pretty proud of it, but I decided it was time to review/revamp it. Here’s why:
First of all, my teaching has changed a lot over the past five years. For example, I now use the SHAPE America National Standards for K-12 Physical Education as the framework around which I build my physical education curriculum. Although, just like five years ago, I still include fitness units in my physical education program (like my S.M.A.R.T. Goals Fitness Unit), the outcomes on which I focus are quite different.
Here are the fitness component-related outcomes we focus on at our elementary (K-6) campus:
- Demonstrates, with teacher direction, the health-related fitness components. (S3.E5.3)
- Identifies the components of health-related fitness.5 (S3.E3.4)
- Differentiates between skill-related and health-related fitness.6 (S3.E3.5)
- Identifies the components of skill-related fitness (S3.M7.6)
- Differentiates between aerobic and anaerobic capacity and between muscular strength and endurance. (S3.M10.6)
Seeing that my students now learn about and explore both the health-related and the skill-related components of fitness, I needed resources that would help them learn more about both of those categories.
The second way in which my teaching has changed has to do with the amount of English Language Learners (ELL) in my classes. Since my school has a very international population, several of our students are arriving in Quebec not knowing much English or French. Because of that, I wanted to update my resources to make them as visual as possible. Having visual cues really helps those students who are currently struggling with language make sense of what we are learning in class and helps them relax and enjoy physical education.
So, that being said, here’s how I created my new fitness components resources:
Fitness Components Icons
The first thing I wanted to do was to create an easy-to-understand icon for each of the different components of fitness.
For the health-related components, I needed an icon for each of the following:
- Cardiovascular Endurance
- Muscular Endurance
- Muscular Strength
- Body Composition
Since there are five health-related components, I decided to make these icons pentagonal (i.e. five-sided) to help my students a) remember that there are five health-related components and b) distinguish the health-related components from the skill-related components. Here’s what I came up with (if you can’t guess which one is which, keep reading!):
As for the skill-related components of fitness, here is what I needed to create:
- Reaction Time
Just as I did with the health-related components, I made the icons have the same amount of sides as there are components in this category (six). Here’s how they turned out:
Fitness Component Concept Cards
With the icons created, I wanted to make a series of concept cards that I could use in my teaching. Concept cards are cards that I placed in cone holders in my gym during lessons that serve as visual learning tools/triggers for my students. For these fitness-component concept cards, I wanted them to help my students identify, define and understand the different fitness components we work on in each of our fitness unit learning activities.
I’m pretty pumped about how the cards turned out! You can get them here (for a small fee), but here is a sneak peak:
Fitness Component Posters
Finally, since I’m always looking to create helpful visuals for my gym, I also decided to create a fitness component poster for each category of fitness components so that my students always have all of the information they need on the components of fitness readily available to them in class.
Although I included the both posters in the Fitness Component Concept Cards download, I’ve also made each poster available for free on the visuals page (this link will take you right to them).
So those are my reviewed and revamped resources that I’ll be using to help my students identify, distinguish, demonstrate and understand both the skill-related and health-related components of fitness. I hope you find these usual for your teaching and that they are helpful for your students.
If you plan on using any of these resources, I’d love to hear how in the comments below.
Thanks for reading and your ongoing support! Happy Teaching!
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