Athletics Lesson 11

Objectives: to enable the child to

  Children spread around the play area.

Play the ‘Changing beans’ game. The teacher calls

  • ‘runner bean’ - the children run around the play area
  • ‘baking bean’ - the children bounce on the spot
  • ‘chilli bean’ - the children shiver on the spot
  • ‘string bean’ - the children form groups of three and link hands
  • ‘frozen bean’ – the children freeze on the spot.
  Children perform
  • squat jumps (the child crouches down, fingers touching the floor/ground and jumps up high in the air arms outstretched and touching the ears before landing with knees bent and back straight)
  • disco roll (roll your feet from side to side with knees bending at the same time, swing both arms across the body in the opposite direction to the knees
  • trunk turns (twist from the waist up with your knees bent and arms swinging to one side trying to touch an imaginary point behind you)
  • an imaginary rope ladder climb
  Children perform stretching exercises for the neck, arms, back and legs. See stretching exercises from Action for Life Programme Teacher’s Notes.
  Place your hands on the floor and kick your feet in the air as if you want to shake off both shoes at the same time. Repeat a few times.

Teacher Questions:

Q. What activity did you like best in this warm-up?
Q. Why is it important to be warm now? (because we know now that our muscles and
    heart are ready to work harder)
This section of the lesson provides opportunities for the children to engage in group activities where they practise hurdling, throwing, jumping, skipping and running. They have experienced these activities in previous lessons but in this lesson they use different apparatus in some instances and are required to work independently within a co-operative group situation. The method of organising is called station teaching.

What is station teaching?
Station teaching is a framework which allows maximum numbers of children to participate, providing opportunities for continuous practice for groups working on different tasks at the same time. It is particularly useful where equipment is limited. Children work with specific equipment practising certain skills in designated areas.

In this lesson the class consists of five groups. After a given time (approximately four minutes) the group move on to another ‘station’ to practise a different skill.

Where does the teacher position him/herself?
It is best for the teacher to position him/herself at the side of the play area where all of the class can be seen. In this lesson the teacher focuses on Station 3 where children are practising the overarm throw. It is possible to help children individually in this lesson. In lessons 3 and 4 where the children had an opportunity to practise the overarm throw, a line of children were all throwing simultaneously making it very difficult to see individual children. However, the teacher obviously keeps all groups in view.

Setting up the equipment
It is essential that the teacher has decided in advance

It is useful to have the equipment set out in advance but not essential. Children can help lay it out. The first lesson using this methodology may be slow – setting up equipment, guiding children from station to station etc. - but it can be repeated exactly as it is for the next lesson. Subsequent lessons will be easier to organise as children become accustomed to the stations, the activities at each station and working in groups.

Class organisation for this section of the lesson
Each group assembles at an assigned station. Before the activities begin the groups are seated (where possible) behind a marker (such as a beanbag) at the station assigned to them. It is much easier to explain the tasks if children are stationary!

The activity to be performed at each station is demonstrated. On the starting signal from the teacher each child in turn carries out the required activity at the particular station and waits until each child has had a turn before he/she repeats the activity. On the signal all children stop and walk back to their groups. On the next signal the group leader leads the group on to the next station. They await the signal to begin (it may be necessary to ask a child in each group to demonstrate the activity quickly before the group begins at a ‘new’ station – they may have forgotten the original demonstration!).

Use of the whistle
It is best if the teacher calls out ‘tosaigh’, ‘leanaigí ar aghaidh go dtí an stáisiún eile’ etc. and only uses the whistle to indicate that children are to stop. This will mean that children will be very clear that they stop on hearing the whistle and it is particularly useful if the teacher sees some unsafe practice and from a distance can blow the whistle indicating the need for stopping instantly.

Co-operation with other classes
It would be extremely useful if a school planned to teach athletics during a certain time of the year. The equipment could be placed out and used by a class, then used by another class who would be responsible for putting the equipment away. This layout could be used by senior classes also with modifications to spacing and height of equipment.

Layout of equipment, activities at each station and teaching points

Station 1
Lay out 5 pairs of cones about 10 metres apart.
Activity: Each child walks from cone to cone 5 times and runs as many times as he/she can before walking to complete the task.
Teaching points: There will be a maximum of four minutes activity as each rotation lasts for that amount of time.

Station 2
Lay out the hurdles in pairs. Place the pairs close together, no more than 30 cms high, with an even distance between each pair.
Activity: Run over the ‘spread’ i.e. do not land between each pair of canes. On your second chance walk to each hurdle, turn sideways and jump sideways over the obstacle or take off from one foot and land on two.
Teaching points: this activity could be performed over ropes laid flat or over chalk lines drawn in pairs.

Station 3
Place the beanbags in the basin. Place hoops 5m away (approx.)
Activity: throw the beanbags past the hoop.
Teaching points: use the overarm throw. (Stand sideways on to target, extend the arm fully backwards and release the beanbag high.) Children continue using all beanbags in the basin before the group leader gives the sign for the beanbags to be gathered if time permits. Before the group leaves this station they must fill the basin. Children try to remember their score: how many successful attempts at getting the beanbag past the hoop?

Station 4
Place ropes on the ground.
Activity: Skip freely if space allows or experiment with different ways of skipping on the spot.
Teaching points: For beginners, place the rope on the floor and practise stepping over it, then try combining a swing of the rope and a stepping action. How many skips can you attempt without tripping? Can you beat your record?

Station 5
Lay out evenly spaced hurdles. Place the canes no more than 30 cms high to begin.
Activity: Run over the hurdles.
Teaching points: ask groups to walk back along the same side (away from nearest activity). Try to lead over with the same leg each time. (This is the first practice for developing a stride pattern between each hurdle that promotes fluency in a hurdles race.) How many hurdles would be placed across a track? (one per lane, usually eight lanes)

Concluding activity/cool-down
Children jog around the play area changing pathways.
They perform three stretching exercises introduced in the warm-up.

Why do we need to cool down after our lesson? (so that our muscles will relax and we won’t feel stiff or sore after any of the activities)

They walk to the assembly area.

Resources: indoor or outdoor play area, whistle, teacher’s sketch of stations and list of groups, markers (cones, beanbags), beanbags, hoops, skipping ropes, hurdles (wire skittles and canes or cones and canes or primary athletics foam hurdles). See diagram of layout to assess quantity of equipment required at each station.