Virtual PE is becoming an increasingly popular way to provide physical education to students. It offers a unique combination of curriculum and technology that can be tailored to meet the needs of any student. Virtual PE is a great way to engage students in physical activity while teaching important physical education concepts. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of virtual PE, the curriculum opportunities, and the technology that makes it possible.
Virtual PE in the Age of Virtual Schools
Virtual schools are here to stay. In fact, there has been a rise in virtual school enrollment following the pandemic. As a result, many families opt for a virtual learning experience, and public school districts, charter schools, and private schools are all embracing the demand.
No matter what type of school students are enrolled in, children of all ages need physical activity and physical education. The CDC recommends 60 minutes of activity because of the well-documented benefits of physical activity on physical health and mental health. Therefore, whether students are in elementary school, middle school, or high school, they need regular “moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.”
But past just physical activity, students need to learn the essential skills and strategies to exercise. Students can develop these critical lifelong fitness skills through physical education classes. Physical education is an integral part of any school, so virtual PE is a necessary subject within any virtual school.
Virtual PE – Two Major Questions
When it comes to planning a virtual PE class, there are two major questions that schools must ask:
1) What curriculum and lesson plans can students do virtually?
In an in-person physical education class, physical educators can provide equipment and resources for students to complete a variety of workouts. But with virtual PE, students need a simple way to exercise with the limited equipment they have access to at home or no equipment at all.
For example, each student might get a jump rope or yoga mat at home, but not everyone can get weights or other equipment. Therefore, virtual PE must have a complete course offering of lesson plans that can be achieved and completed at home with limited or no equipment.
2) Is the virtual PE class going to be synchronous, asynchronous, or a combination of both?
If virtual PE is going to be synchronous learning, there is still an obvious element of technology needed for PE teachers and students to work together.
But if virtual PE is going to be any amount asynchronous, then PE teachers need to find a way to track and monitor the completion of course content for students at home.
5 Free Virtual Physical Education Lessons
Here are five free virtual physical education lessons that are excellent for any fitness level. All of these lessons come from PLT4M’s library of physical education curriculum and are perfect for an online PE lesson.
A few notes about these lessons:
No equipment required
A soft surface is nice to have (yoga mat, towel, or even a run)
All of these different virtual PE lessons assume a basic understanding of fitness (If students still need to participate in an intro to fitness program, don’t worry! We have a full slate of virtual PE lessons for a general intro to fitness.)
Bodyweight bootcamp is a high-intensity interval training class for all fitness levels. This program guides students through a full-body follow-along workout. With a combination of strength training and cardio, this program is designed to help students find new boundaries that challenge muscular endurance and strength.
This yoga session begins with a guided warm-up and an opportunity for students to check in mentally and physically to the day’s lesson. Our yoga session will follow a traditional yoga flow and move throughout an entire 30-minute workout. We will also introduce 2-3 movement/pose variations embedded directly within the longer flows.
Boxing is a total body workout! Odd rounds (1,3,5,7) consist of boxing exercises focusing on offense, defense, and footwork. Students will be instructed to practice different combinations and can practice at their own pace or follow along with Sean, our instructor. Even rounds (2,4,6,8) consist of bodyweight circuits. The 8th round wraps up with a core cashout.
Pilates is a low-impact form of exercise that is a great full-body workout. Pilates focuses on control while enhancing balance, flexibility, and the mind-body connection. This introductory program provides an excellent challenge to all major muscle groups, particularly the core.
Let’s turn up the music and have some fun! This workout aims to provide every student with an engaging and welcoming introduction to the basics of dance fitness. We seek to introduce this form of cardio and dance fitness through a fully-developed lesson plan that allows students to learn new dance moves while getting their heart rates up and smiling!
Technology’s Role in Virtual PE
While PE teachers could access workouts on a random youtube channel, virtual PE needs the ability to deliver workouts and track activity.
Just like google classroom can help monitor activity and learning for other subjects, PE teachers can utilize PLT4M to track what is getting done at home. For example, when students log in to PLT4M and complete a workout, they will get credit for their virtual physical education lessons. This allows virtual PE to be an asynchronous subject.
And while there will be synchronous components of virtual PE, by utilizing PLT4M technology, schools can guarantee a high-quality physical education class for all middle school and high school students.
Key Takeaways on Virtual PE
Virtual PE is so important because it directly aligns with what students will see after graduating. Teaching students skills to take care of their physical health and mental health at home makes them more likely to continue pursuing fitness after their school days are over.
Lifelong fitness starts by empowering students to see exercise as a habit and practice they can do anywhere. Through virtual PE, students can learn that they can still stay healthy and physically active even without access to a gym or fitness center.
Does PLT4M have programs and workouts for students that do have equipment?
Yes, PLT4M has a full slate of middle school PE lesson plans, high school physical education lesson plans, and workouts that do require equipment. In this article, we featured no equipment lessons and programs. But if students have access to weights or a gym, we have plenty of options for them as well!
What about virtual physical education lessons for elementary school?
PLT4M focuses on middle school and high school students. But if you are looking for elementary school resources, we recommend checking out some of the following websites: