Last updated: 2007
The goal of physical education is to develop healthy, responsible students who have the knowledge,
skills, and dispositions to work together in groups, think critically, and participate in a variety of
activities that lead to a lifelong healthy lifestyle. The Physical Education Core Curriculum utilizes appropriate instructional practices to develop competence and confidence in a variety of lifetime
activity and movement forms including sports, dance, recreational, and physical fitness activities.
The emphasis is on providing success and enjoyment for all students; not just for those who are
"physically gifted." Knowledge of the relationship between proper nutrition and a consistent fitness
regimen is the common thread running through the Physical Education Core. Students develop Life
Skills through cooperative and competitive activity participation, and learn to value academic
The Physical Education Core describes what students should know and be able to demonstrate at the
end of each grade. It was developed, critiqued, piloted, and revised by a committee comprised of
physical education teachers, district specialists, university educators, State Office of Education
specialists, and representatives from the community. The Core reflects the current national
philosophy of physical education represented in national standards developed by the American
Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) and the National
Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE), the two governing bodies of health and
physical education in the United States.
Requirements for Physical Education in the Law
All physical education courses must be:
- Taught by a certified educator.
- Open to all students.
- Co-educational and in compliance with Title IX regulations.
For optimum learning in physical education, it is recommended that:
- Classes be taught by a licensed physical educator.
- Classes be supervised in indoor and outdoor settings.
- Curriculum be designed to meet the needs of all students.
- Activities be age appropriate and sequential in nature.
- Classes be limited to 30 students per teacher in an instructional period.
- For the safety of the students, facilities and equipment be inspected on a regular basis.
- Adequate equipment and supplies be available to enable all students to be active at the
Physical Education or Physical Activity?
All children should have access to physical education and physical activity. Often these terms are
used interchangeably, but they differ in important ways. Physical education is a core subject
where students develop skills and understanding necessary for establishing and maintaining a
healthy lifestyle. Physical education teachers assess knowledge and motor and social skills, and
provide instruction in a safe, supportive environment. Recess, intramurals, community athletic programs, mowing the lawn, and even walking the family dog are examples of physical activities.
Physical education, however, prepares students to efficiently participate in a variety of lifetime
Opportunity to Learn
The National Association for Sport and Physical Education and the Utah Core Curriculum
recommend that all students receive a minimum of 150 minutes, 30 minutes per day, of structured
physical education instruction/activity per week. This recommendation is in addition to recess
opportunities offered at a school. When possible, physical education classes should be taught by
certified elementary physical education specialists.
Life Skills are reflected in the national standards embedded in the Physical Education Core.
Behaviors included are integrity, perseverance, safe practices, adherence to rules, respect for self
and others, cooperation and teamwork, ethical behavior in sport, and respect for individual
similarities and differences through positive interaction among participants in physical activity.
Similarities and differences include characteristics of culture, race, ability level, disability, physical
characteristics (strength, size, and age), gender, and socioeconomic status. Students are taught to
respect differences and to include others from diverse backgrounds in activity participation.
In order to promote students' personal and social development, and to introduce them to civic
responsibility, community service project ideas are suggested and encouraged by physical education
teachers. The following ideas offer a sampling of service projects directly related to physical
- Assist special needs students in physical activities.
- Walk on a regular basis with a senior citizen from a local senior care facility.
- Assist senior citizens with lawn and home maintenance chores.
- Help upgrade school and/or local recreational facilities.
- Clean school and neighborhood facilities.
- Participate in community fundraising activities.
- Assist with graffiti removal at school and in the community.
- Assist younger students in community sports programs.
Dodge Ball and Other Inappropriate Activities
Some games are not appropriate to teaching children in a public educational setting. Games that
have the potential to embarrass students; to cause danger, injury or harm; to limit participation time;
or to eliminate students from participation should not be part of the physical education curriculum.
Dodge ball in any form with any type of ball is an example of an inappropriate activity. The
National Association for Sport and Physical Education states, "students who are eliminated first
in dodge ball are typically the ones who most need to be active and practice their skills. Many times
these students are the ones with the least amount of confidence in their physical abilities. Being
targeted because they are the "weaker" players, and being hit by a hard-thrown ball, does not help
kids to develop self confidence." Games and activities offered in schools should be those that help
students develop self-confidence, be active, and practice their skills in an emotionally and
physically safe environment.
A variety of assessment strategies are used to evaluate student achievement in the Core. Pre and
post skills and knowledge tests are utilized to individualize instruction and to encourage success for
Alternative assessment strategies described in the Core are observation, interview, rubrics and
activity journals. Required reading and writing assignments relating to a healthy lifestyle broaden
the physical education experience for students of all ability levels. Topics such as sports, proper
nutrition, and recreation offer excellent opportunities to encourage students to improve their literacy
Physical fitness testing provides personal information to students and indicates progress in
individualized fitness plans. Scores on fitness tests should reflect improvement by students and
should not be the primary component used in the grading process. The FitnessGram, President's
Challenge, and Physical Best are tests to be considered by teachers.
Physical Education Programs and Resources for Teachers
Governor's Golden Sneaker Award Program
The Governor's Golden Sneaker Award Program involves fitness and activity, and supplements the
school physical education program. It encourages healthy behaviors in and out of school and can be
rewarding for the entire family. This program is sponsored and administered by the Utah State
Office of Education.
Contact: USOE Physical Education Specialist (801) 538-7732 or (801) 538-7807
Gold Medal Schools Program
This multi-level program assists elementary schools in promoting physical education, nutrition and
tobacco-use prevention. Through participation, schools can earn up to $1500.00 for nutrition and
physical education supplies or tobacco-use prevention resources. All elementary schools are eligible
to participate. The Utah Department of Health administers the Gold Medal Schools program.
Contact: Gold Medal Schools Coordinator (801) 538-9454
Incredible Physical Education Website for Elementary Classroom Teachers
This comprehensive website gives detailed information about games, physical education activities,
tournament bracketing, and playground games. It also includes methods to organize classes, safety
precautions, and video streaming which illustrates all activities offered on the site. This site is
highly recommended! http://www.afterschoolpa.com
Nutrition Expedition for 2nd and 4th Grades
This eight-activity curriculum involves two heroes who show, in a fun and interactive way, the
importance of proper nutrition. It supplements the physical education, health, and language arts
curricula. Materials include CDs, a teacher's guide, and overhead transparencies. The materials and
training are free. This program is administered by the Dairy Council of Utah/Nevada.
Contact: Director of Nutrition Education (801) 487-9976
Organization of Physical Education Core
The Core is designed to help teachers organize and deliver instruction. Elements of the Core include
- INTENDED LEARNING OUTCOMES describe the goals for students to become
physically educated enabling them to practice healthy behaviors and fully participate
in activity throughout their lifetimes.
- A STANDARD is a broad statement of what students are expected to understand.
Several objectives are listed under each Standard.
- An OBJECTIVE is a more focused description of what students need to know and be
able to do at the completion of instruction. If students have mastered the Objectives
associated with a given Standard, they are judged to have mastered that Standard for
the course. Several Indicators are described for each Objective.
- An INDICATOR is a measurable or observable student action that enables one to
judge whether or not a student has mastered a particular Objective. Indicators can
guide physical education instruction and assessment.
Intended Learning Outcomes for Elementary Physical Education
The Intended Learning Outcomes reflect the skills, attitudes, standards, and behaviors students
should learn as a result of instruction in physical education. They represent an essential part of the
Physical Education Core Curriculum and provide teachers with standards for evaluation of student
learning. The primary goal: to develop positive attitudes, skills, and behaviors to empower students
to live healthy, productive lives.
By the end of elementary physical education instruction, students will be able to:
- Value physical activity for health, enjoyment, challenge, self-expression, and/or social
- Understand appropriate and inappropriate risks in activity participation based on
experience and ability.
- Demonstrate the connection between proper nutrition and exercise in creating and
maintaining a life-long healthy lifestyle.
- Demonstrate appropriate safety precautions related to environmental conditions when
participating in activities.
- Participate in activities at home and in community settings.
- Seek personally challenging experiences in physical activity.
- Explore new and different activities that bring personal satisfaction, increase fitness
levels, and reduce stress.
- Celebrate achievements of self and others in competitive and cooperative activities.
- Exhibit responsible personal and social behavior that respects self and others in physical
- Follow rules and standards to ensure fair and safe play in a variety of activity settings.
- Participate with and show respect for students with similar and different ability levels.
- Accept responsibility for personal actions without blaming others.
- Consider the views and feelings of others in resolving conflict situations.
- Work in a group or on a team to accomplish a goal.
- Demonstrate independence and appropriate time management while participating in
- Understand and apply the health-enhancing benefits of physical activity and proper
- Understand and value the elements of physical fitness.
- Participate regularly in a variety of lifetime activities.
- Understand and compare the fitness and stress-reducing benefits of different sports and
- Understand the value of proper nutrition as it relates to fitness and well-being.
- Design and follow a personal fitness program that reflects individual interests and
- Develop a warm-up activity prior to engaging in activity and a cool-down afterwards.
- Practice self-assessment in skill and fitness development.
- Demonstrate formal and personal fitness assessments to maximize personal fitness
- Understand how activity reduces stress.
- Demonstrate competency in knowledge and movement skills needed to perform a variety of
physical education activities.
- Observe personal and general space in movement activities.
- Throw, strike, and catch balls and other objects in increasingly complex situations.
- Demonstrate the correct techniques for a variety of sports activities.
- Demonstrate basic offensive and defensive skills and strategies in a variety of games and activities.
- Describe the ethical responsibilities in activity participation.
- Understand and demonstrate rules in a variety of games and activities.
- Initiate regular skill practice to improve performance.
- Translate general movement principles to a number of different games and activities.
- Demonstrate jump rope proficiency.
- Demonstrate rhythm in a variety of multicultural dances creating shapes, levels, and