PE Lesson Plans (With Free Downloadble PDFs)

Students participate in different types of fitness activities like weightlifting, yoga, and bootcamp.

There are endless PE lesson plans to choose from for your physical education class. We break down the importance of physical education lesson plans and highlight some of the best places to find physical education lesson plans for your age and audience.

The Importance Of Physical Education Lesson Plans


Physical education as a subject in school has always battled stereotypes. Unfortunately, many wrongly assume that a pe teacher just “rolls out the ball” for a typical PE class. But anyone who has observed or taken part in a quality physical education program knows that the subject of PE is one of the best opportunities for students’ physical health development.


Per the CDC, physical education is an academic subject just like math, science, or social studies,


“It (PE) is an academic subject characterized by a planned, sequential K–12 curriculum (course of study) that is based on the national standards for physical education. Physical education provides cognitive content and instruction designed to develop motor skills, knowledge, and behaviors for physical activity and physical fitness.” (CDC Healthy Schools – Physical Education & Physical Activity)


Therefore, physical education lesson plans are essential to developing a sequential curriculum. At every grade level, PE lesson plans can provide students in physical education class opportunities to develop lifelong fitness, health, and wellness skills.

Students watch a PLT4M instructional video on a tablet during PE class.
Students follow along to a physical education lesson plan on a tablet.

Turning Ideas For PE Into Lesson Plans For PE


There is no shortage of activity ideas for PE. Historically, most ideas for PE were shared at professional development trainings and state/national conferences. And while these are still great opportunities to check out new ideas for PE, the rise of social media has created a new avenue for physical education teachers.


Now, any PE teacher can log onto Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms and find countless great ideas for PE. For example, the PE Central Facebook Group has over 34,000 members and has daily posts from PE teachers across the country. In this group, teachers share fun games and activity ideas for every grade level and type of unit.


But taking these one-off activity ideas and turning them into pe lesson plans that fit with the entire year-long curriculum plan can take time and effort. But as a pe teacher, you don’t have to go at this lofty task alone!

Finding Lesson Plans For PE


When it comes to lesson planning for PE, many teachers find themselves trying to do it alone. And when it comes to trying to fill an entire year full of lesson plans for PE from scratch, it can become an overwhelming process.


But just like in any other subject, there are lesson plans for PE that can be utilized at any grade level.


For instance, when a math teacher has to teach a unit on multiplication, they don’t typically create lesson plans on their own. Instead, they turn to professionally designed lesson plans and curriculum.


Physical education should do the same! For example, a PE teacher might aim to introduce different movements like the squat, lunge, hinge, press, and pull in a foundational human movement unit. Instead of creating physical education lessons from a blank template, they can tap into grade-level appropriate programs and units that cover these skills in a series of physical education lessons.


At every grade level, there are tons of great PE lesson plans that teachers can utilize. And PE lesson plans are just that: PLANS. From a framework and structure, PE teachers can still adjust and modify lesson plans for PE to fit their time, setting, and student experience levels. But finding quality PE lesson plans can be a great starting point to save time and energy while still creating a physical education class to be proud of.


PLT4M sample curriculum map for 9th grade physical education.
Example of a 9th grade curriculum map and lesson plans.

Example content! This instructional video is part of a larger fitness lesson utilized at the middle and high school level. 

Examples of Physical Education Lesson Plans


To get you started, we have highlighted at a high-level PE lesson plan options for every grade level bucket. 


While this article gives a bird’s eye view, we encourage you to explore some helpful links and resources for each grade level. So take a deep dive into your grade level and see if any of the resources provided can help you build out your PE lessons for an entire school year.


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High School PE Lesson Plans


High school physical education lesson plans are the final step before students graduate and are on their own for physical fitness and health. Therefore, high school PE lesson plans should take a progressional approach to support students’ individual interests.


For example, a high school physical education class will start everyone with the different elements of foundational fitness and then allow them to explore units like strength training, yoga, dance, pilates, and other lifelong fitness activities.


And although games are not as big of a focus as they are with younger students, some high school students will still want to play ball sports and other PE games. This can still be a piece of high school pe lesson plans! The primary goal for any high school pe lesson plan is to support students as they prepare for the next steps in their young adult lives.


Links for High School PE Lesson Plans

Middle School PE Lesson Plans


Middle school physical education presents its unique challenges and opportunities. Middle school students are at a pivotal age regarding their relationships with fitness, health, and wellness. 


Many physical education teachers look to incorporate shorter middle school physical education units that can still cover key concepts, but not lose students’ interest. In addition, middle school PE lessons start to take on a more lifetime fitness approach.


Here, lesson plans for middle school can introduce students to different topics like fitness, yoga, dance, racquet sports, and more. Middle school PE lesson plans balance lifelong fitness activities and fun pe games.


Links for Middle School PE Lesson Plans

Elementary PE Lesson Plans


Elementary pe is the first step for students on their lifelong fitness and wellness journey. At the elementary school level, you can teach some of the critical gross motor skills and fine motor skills that can be a launching point for future years to come.


While at the middle and high school level there has been a transition away from a PE games focused curriculum, elementary PE lessons still center around getting younger students moving through gameplay.


Links For Elementary PE Lesson Plans

Bonus Content: Health Lesson Plans 

Within many schools, health is a larger part of the physical education curriculum. Health Education Lesson Plans  can offer an added layer of learning for students of all ages and grades. Check out some different health units to cover in physical education! 

Key Takeaways On PE Lesson Plans


Don’t go at creating physical education lesson plans alone! There are endless resources, lesson plans, and community of PE teachers that are all available to make lesson planning streamlined and easy.


Often when a PE teacher considers incorporating new PE lesson plans, they view it as all or nothing endeavor. But starting small is a great first step to long-term success.

You can introduce your new PE lesson plans to just one PE class. Look at them as a trial run before rolling out a new curriculum across all of your classes.


Another approach is just picking one of the new PE units you found and introducing it over a few weeks. Again, this small step can let you test run your new PE lesson plans without having to overhaul an entire year’s curriculum.


No matter your approach, don’t be afraid to tap into the community and team of physical education professionals across the united states that are all working towards a shared mission of empowering lifelong physical activity, health, and wellness. 

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