By GreatSchools Staff
Whatever you thought of gym class, the current debate over childhood obesity has made PE more relevant than ever. As the website for First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign informs us, kids need “60 minutes of active and vigorous play every day to grow up to a healthy weight.” Some schools are even using video games to lure kids to the gym. In an ideal setting, PE doesn’t just improve fitness — it also reduces stress, strengthens friendships, and improves self-confidence and self-esteem.
Is your child getting the physical education he needs? Check out our grade-by-grade guidelines to see what kids should be learning in PE.
PE should be fun, fostering social interaction and not just physical fitness. In fifth grade, kids take part in activities to increase their cardiovascular fitness, strength, and flexibility, while also learning new skills, including cooperative play, teamwork, and sportsmanship.
Children are also introduced to a variety of team sports such as flag football, volleyball, and field hockey. Gymnastics and dance help teach other lessons including balance.
To help them grasp the basics of physical conditioning, fifth graders should study up on major muscle groups and learn about targeted stretches. “Understanding muscle groups and body systems helps students understand how exercise contributes to good health,” says physical education specialist Amy Kaiser. “It’s fun to try to name the muscle you’re stretching.”
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