Gone are the days of monotonous drills and exercise routines in P.E. class. In the realm of physical education, there exists a powerful tool that holds the potential to transform the learning experience: play. It is through play that children learn about the world around them and themselves – it becomes a vital and incredibly educational form of engagement. By integrating games into your curriculum, you can harness the inherent joy of play to create an enriching learning environment for your students.
Gamification and the Power of “Play”
Let’s begin to understand the transformative potential of games and play. Gamification is the application of elements typical to game playing – adding game mechanics to non-game environments. In the context of an educational curriculum, gamification refers to the integration of “game” into the learning process.
Adolescents, with their unique developmental needs and characteristics, can greatly benefit from the integration of games in their physical education. But what needs set adolescents apart from other age groups, and how can gamification address those needs?
- Individual autonomy
In this critical stage of development, adolescents begin to develop a natural desire for independence, an essential part of their journey to adulthood. Gamification offers opportunities for choice and agency, allowing students to make decisions and determine their learning path within the game-based framework.
- A Sense of Belonging
Feeling like you belong is a human desire not specific to any age group. But it is during adolescence where the sense of belonging becomes more prioritized, especially when your social life exists largely at school. The social element of gamification satisfies their need for connection, empowering them to work in teams through cooperative gameplay.
- Pursuit of Mastery
At this age, adolescents are more motivated by challenges than in earlier stages of life. Games exist to fuel healthy competition and push people to do their best – to step out of their comfort zones, engage in difficult tasks, and persist. In a game-based environment, students can compete for achievement in a controlled space.
As we know in this day in age, adolescents have a natural inclination towards digital technology. That’s why leveraging technology is a smart move when upgrading your P.E. curriculum to increase student engagement. By aligning to the needs of your students and catering to the new generation of tech users, you can create a learning environment fit for your students.
How to Integrate Games into Your P.E. Curriculum
- Sports Circuit Competition
One way to integrate games into your class is to coordinate a circuit activity where students can rotate through learning different sports skills in teams (through… you guessed it, Hiveclass!). At the end of the rotation, there will be a physical test where students have to demonstrate on the spot how to perform a certain skill – the team with the most points wins!
- Fitness Challenges
Here’s a way to keep students active both in and out of class! Create a fitness challenge where students compete to achieve the highest number of volleyball bumps in a given time or complete a series of fitness tasks. This is something that can be hosted during a class period or as a virtual challenge – students can send video evidence as proof of completion.
- House Cups
Another fun way to integrate adventure and games is to replicate the “House Cups” game that is played in the fictional series, Harry Potter. Sort the students into four different houses and create a point system that awards students engaging in physical activity challenges. At the end of the school year, award the House Cup to the house with the most points.
So there you have it, folks! Join us on this journey as we redefine the way we learn and move, creating a generation of confident and joyful learners through the power of play.