Struggling to find engaging PE activities for middle school students?
Throughout the entire k-12 physical education experience, students have an opportunity to develop skills and form positive relationships with health and wellness. And while each grade level presents unique challenges, middle school pe teachers have students at an incredibly transformational age.
Teachers need to strike a delicate balance when selecting middle school physical education units that spark students’ interest and keep them engaged for multiple lessons and weeks.
Producing middle school physical education unit plans on multiple topics is tough!
There is no shortage of physical education ideas for middle school. But finding the lessons that will support and connect to your bigger goal and picture of a school year can be tricky!
It can become overwhelming as you think of all the different things you want to layer into a semester or school year.
- What about outdoor physical education games for middle school?
- What about indoor physical education games for middle school?
- When will we be ready to do our fitness testing?
- Is the content and curriculum I am using age-appropriate and engaging?
A week’s worth of free PE lesson plans for middle school classes
While there is no shortage of middle school gym games and lessons, finding quality curriculum can be challenging. And sparking new ideas as the landscape of PE changes can be hard. Here is a full week of middle school pe lesson plans that have fun games, introduce basic fitness concepts, and layer in social-emotional learning.
Day 1: PE Games For Middle School
It is day one! And your middle school students are waiting to see what their pe teacher has in store. While you might be eager to jump right to the robust instructional content you have meticulously planned, remember that this is your chance to get students excited and engaged.
So let’s start with getting students moving, their heart rates up, and talking with each other. Let’s play pick a side! A spin-off on many of the classic phys ed games for middle school, students will choose left or right, and then based on that choice, have a fitness assignment.
It may feel a little silly at first, but go through a few rounds with different topics! This way, students get an opportunity to move throughout your gym or space and talk to new people as they pick their different sides.
- Students are given their choice of two different animals and then assigned different movements.
- Let students get comfortable with the format of the game in the first round.
- In the second round, students now have to pick foods that they like and don’t like.
- Now that students are more comfortable with the game encourage them to talk with people around them about why they chose their side
- In the third round, students now pick music genres and styles they like.
- At this point, you have gotten the chance to see your students move. Now you can stop and break down any fixes or faults you might want to address early on.
- You just gave three excellent examples of ‘pick side topics,’ now, let your students have some choice and ownership! Maybe pick a school-specific topic for which they can think of left or right options and play again!
- Example: Do you like sitting at the round tables in cafeteria or rectangle?
Day 2: Air Squat & Introducing Fitness
Most middle school students have some understanding of foundational human movements. While they might not necessarily know them by name, many of them have been tasked to do things like squat, lunge, hinge, and more throughout their elementary school experience.
While you may want to stick to middle school phys ed games that keep and hold your student’s attention, layering in different movement education lesson plans can significantly impact a student’s overall fitness journey.
And they can still be fun! Here is an excellent example of a lesson that focuses on the squat and hinge, and puts it all together in a fun workout to wrap up physical education class.
- 2 Minutes of light cardio
- Spiderman & Reach – 1 Minute Continuous Movement, Alternating
- Alt. Samson – 1 Minute Continuous Movement
- Good Mornings 4 x 10 Reps
- Elbow Plan 4 x :20 Seconds
- 1:00 Rest After Each Round
- Introduce the 4 points of performance
- Air Squat 2 x 5 Reps
- 5 Rounds Of 10 Air Squats + 2:00 Walk/Jog/Run
Day 3: Fitness Literacy – Cognitive
If you are seeing your students almost every day of the week, chances are you want to layer in some cognitive materials into your physical education curriculum.
Doing so can help students build connections to the importance of physical wellness and how it relates to the different middle school pe games and exercises you do throughout the semester.
- Watch the short video and read the full article before answering the lesson questions
- Full Lesson Materials Here
- 9 chapter questions provided that can be either done individually or incorporated as part of a group discussion
- Have a little extra time? Here you can add some fun pe games for middle school students. Check out some ideas from PE teacher Peter Boucher on Gopher Sports blogs: 4 Great PE Games For Middle School.
Day 4: Lunge – More Foundational Fitness
This is the second day of foundational movements and workouts. Emphasizing the foundations in your physical education units for middle school is an easy win! You hit several shape america standards/state standards and build core competencies that can be applied to almost any other units or lesson.
Many students believe they know how to lunge without instruction, but often the result is an inefficient movement that is tough on the knee joint and lower back. Today, we will take time to understand the position of our feet, knees, and hips and do it right!
- 2 Minutes of light cardio
- Leg Swings – 10 Slow Reps Each Direction
- Inchworm To Push Up – 1:00 Slow Continuous Movement
- Introduce the 4 points of performance
- Lunge – 3 x 6 Reps (Alternating Legs)
- Introduce the 3 points of performance of the burpee
- Provide scaling options for different speeds
- Practice 2 reps of each speed option
- 30 Alternating Lunges
- 2:00 Burpees
- 20 Alternating Lunges
- 1:00 Burpees
- 10 Alternating Lunges
- :30 Burpees
Day 5: Mindfulness – Social-Emotional Learning
As a physical education teacher, you are often tasked with any new topics or curriculum that don’t neatly fit into our subject areas. In recent years, social-emotional learning has emerged and been added to the national standards for physical education and wellness by Shape America. And for a good reason!
We know that much like any fitness or physical skill, we can help our middle school students to build mindfulness skills. Mindfulness is paying attention to what’s happening on purpose with kindness, curiosity, without judgment.
- Allowing us to arrive and be present in our lesson together
- Learning about the background and breakdown of different elements of mindfulness
- Warming ourselves up and helping us to get ready for our full practice
- Putting mindfulness into action and building skills that we can continue using outside of class
How are Plt4m’s middle school PE units delivered?
Whichever way makes sense for your classroom layout! For example, many middle school teachers project PLT4M lessons in their gym for the whole class to follow along. Others deliver assignments via a 1-to-1 device.
What types of middle school physical education activities do you cover?
Middle school is a time to sample and try out new options! PLT4M’s library of original content looks to mirror students’ long-term choices for health and wellness. Dance fitness, weight-lifting, yoga, mobility, and nutrition are just a few of the topics covered in our 25+ PE programs.
Do you only provide middle school fitness lesson plans?
No, we also have PE lesson plans for high school. All our content is intended for middle and high school students.
Most students’ fitness journey is not defined by their age, but their experience. With our beginner to advanced offerings, there is something for everyone.
Do you support the middle school PE curriculum with informational lessons as well as physical activities?
PE curriculum for middle school should be comprehensive. Therefore, everything we provide is thoughtfully prepared to have written and video components to bring together the full PE picture. The goal is to have students explore all aspects of health and wellness, including informational lessons and physical activities.