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Curriculum Integration Ideas

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Here are two ideas for integrating math and language arts skills into your physical education lesson.  
Submitted by  Susan Kunelius from Richfield, Minnesota.  1-5


Background: Here are two ideas for integrating math and language arts skills into your physical education lesson.

Tangram Exercise Warm-Up

Tangrams are often used by classroom teachers as a math manipulative to discover the math concepts of patterns, similarity, and congruency. Today’s Tangrams originated from an old Chinese puzzle game consisting of seven pieces – a small square, two small congruent triangles, two large congruent triangles, a medium-sized triangle, and a parallelogram.


The Original Rubic’s Cube: The goal is to be able to construct a variety of geometric shapes using the seven puzzle pieces. For example, can you…


How We Do It: For this activity, we divide the students into six or more groups. The first player in line runs to the “puzzle bucket” and selects one tangram piece. The player runs back to his group and places the piece on the puzzle card provided for each team. Each puzzle card has a series of exercises on it. As the correct tangram piece is placed on the puzzle card, all of the students perform that exercise.


For Example: Here is an example of an “easy” tangram puzzle using two squares and four small triangles:


In the above example, each of the teams would have two squares and four small triangles placed in their team’s bucket. As they cover up each section, their group must complete the designated exercise before the next person may run for another puzzle piece.

Using the available tangram pieces found at your school, you can make the puzzles as easy or as hard as you want. The hardest puzzle cards only have the outside lines. We generally use these only after the students have been successful with a puzzle that has the inside lines drawn in as a reference.


Spelling Run

Background: One of the activities I have developed to incorporate language skills with physical education is a Spelling Run.

Set-Up: Each student is provided with a spelling word sheet with 10 words with missing letters. We have about 16 variations of word sheets using a list of “high frequency” words and spelling words provided by the classroom teachers. Examples:


We purchased a set of self-inking alphabet stamps from Oriental Trading Company ( We selected the words so only ten stamps (vowels and some common constants) were needed for this activity. Each of the ten stamps were placed in ten separate buckets.

The buckets were placed outside in a variety of places (by the basketball goal, the softball backstop, on the fence, etc). On the teacher’s signal, the students ran with their individual sheet from bucket to bucket, stamping the correct letter to spell the words listed on the sheet.

Teacher Tips: Be sure to remind students to recap the marker and drop the stamp back in the bucket so it is there for the next runner. The further away you place the buckets, the more exercise the students get!

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