The Fun Theory is a Physical Education Staple

The “Fun Theory” website is dedicated to the idea  that “something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behavior for the better.” It’s an initiative of Volkswagen, as a marketing tool to develop the image that their vehicles are fun, but the ideas are all user-generated and the concept is an excellent one. Here’s how it works: there is a cash award for the best ideas – videos are submitted to the site showing each submitter’s theory in action – and an online vote is taken to determine the winner.

Some of the ideas are simple, some require complex engineering, but the results are a lot of fun to see – and many seem highly effective!

Here’s one idea with a fitness slant. You’ll often see an escalator beside a set of stairs – in subways, airports, malls, etc. Usually, the stairs are vacant while the escalator is highly used. In the situation shown on the video, 97% took the escalator while the stairs were typically used only 3% of the time. So a group of engineers got together to make the stairs more fun. They completely changed the user percentage – after their “fun” change, 66% of users took the stairs while the escalator percentage dropped from 97% to 34%!

“Fun” is a theory that physical education teachers have been practicing for decades. One of the main goals of good physical educators is to make fitness fun, because that’s the best way to motivate students into making physical activity part of their daily lifestyle.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]physical education,fun theory,fun activity,fun fitness[/tags]

Practical Skills for Physical Education

Practical Skills for Physical EducationThousands of North Americans experience serious injuries every year as a result of shoveling snow.

To some degree, this is the result of a lack of technique training. Who, after all, teaches snow-shovelers the essentials of lifting with the legs, keeping the back straight and avoiding rotational twisting of the torso while the feet are planted?

It makes me wonder why we don’t we teach practical physical skills in PE…skills like shoveling snow, lifting sofas, cutting grass or hammering nails. There’s a good chance that students will spend more time over their lives operating a snow shovel  or lawn mower  than climbing ropes or doing handstands.

But where would they practice such skills, you might ask? Hmmm. I believe that teachers should offer their own homes as physical education life-skill labs, and receive school board reimbursement for the provision of these excellent learning opportunities. I personally will be the first to volunteer. I have an old sofa that needs moving right now. My PE students could remove it using my pickup truck that could use a wash, wax and polish – another highly practical skill-set    🙂

In the meantime, here’s a video of another practical skill we can add to our curriculum – using juggling to hammer ceiling nails.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]practical physical education skills,pe skills,pe curriculum,physical education curriculum,pe humor,physical education humor[/tags]

Two Football Trick Plays

Welcome back to the first blog of 2011. I hope the year ahead is a healthy and happy one for you!

With the college football bowl season in full swing and the NFL playoffs about to begin, here are two trick plays that you’re not likely to see over the next few weeks.

The first example, a goal-line play performed by Bethel College, is risky and may not be appropriate for you own team, but it definitely would confuse those defensive backs who “key” off the quarterback’s eyes (there’s no sound track on this video).

There’s another trick play you may have seen, in which the quarterback makes a comment about the ball, is handed the ball from the center,  walks through the line of scrimmage untouched, then makes a mad sprint to the goal line.

Here’s a psychological explanation of why the play works, as discussed by Christopher Chabris, professor of psychology at Union College.

(By the way, as a football fan, I was one-for-two last weekend. My alma mater, the University of Wisconsin lost the Rose Bowl, but my NFL team, the Green Bay Packers advanced to the playoffs…barely).

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]football trick plays,trick plays in football[/tags]

PaceTrek Program Gets Students Moving

Paul Staso Running Through Alaska

If you’re looking for a way to motivate your students to walk or run on a regular basis, check out the PaceTrek.com website.  Founder Paul Staso has developed a series of events in which he takes students on a virtual walking or running adventure. As he performs ultra-endurance runs across different countries, states and geographical areas,  students are invited to watch his progress on his website, and log enough combined miles so they match the distance he’s run.

Students log in miles in school gyms and playgrounds, to keep Paul company. They read his online journal and watch the videos that he films as he runs.  His daily journal provides information about the place he has just run through in addition to a tip about fitness and health. It’s a great way to teach students about other places, while developing a fitness habit.

You can see some of his videos at:
http://www.youtube.com/user/pacetrek

The next journey begins on April 14, 2011. It’s a 506-mile solo run across the Mojave Desert. School teams can sign up for free at  http://www.pacetrek.com/register

Paul and his wife, Vicki. began the P.A.C.E. Fitness Foundation (P.A.C.E. stands for Promoting  Active Children Everywhere) in 2006, when he ran 3260 miles across America to keep a promise to 97elementary school students in his hometown of Missoula, Montana. Since then, he’s run across Alaska, Montana and Germany.

The foundation also provides information for the Safe Routes to School program. This program enourages community leaders, schools and parents to improve safety and encourage more children to safely walk and bicycle to school.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]P.A.C.E. Foundation, PACETrek, fitness ideas, running programs, walking programs[/tags]

Evolution of Dance – Fun Moves for Your PE Class

Are you looking for some dance moves to teach your class…or just something for the dance floor at your niece’s wedding? Check out this funny video as it tracks 5 decades of popular dance moves from the 50’s to the end of the 20th century. And while the video is funny, it does provide a visual illustration of popular music and corresponding dance styles as they have evolved over those 50 years.


For the sequel, (Evolution of Dance 2) see:



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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]dance,physical education,dance in physical education classes,dance moves for physical education[/tags]

Why Are There No Timeouts in Endurance Sports?


I watched a basketball game this weekend, in which play was stopped over and over again for timeouts. There were so many timeouts that the final 30 seconds of the game took five minutes to complete.

Typical comments from commentators included: “That was a good timeout. You could see the team needed a breather.”
Or…
“That timeout was perfectly called. Coach needed to change tactics. What a momentum-change that provided.”

Hilary, one of my cross-country runners, takes exception to timeouts in team sports.  In Hilary’s words, “If they can take timeouts in basketball because they’re tired, why not in cross-country?”

Good point. I’d love to be able to call a timeout when my cross-country racers are dropping off the pace and need a break. Or in a middle distance track race, when my runners are boxed-in on the curb. It would make a big difference if I could jump onto the track with my hands in the traditional time-out signal and get the officials to whistle the race to a stop. A 30-second conference  with my athlete with instructions such as:

“I told you to stay off the curb, Joe. Now get back in there and move out of that box!”

And off to the races again, with Joe nicely moving out of his boxed-in position and ready for a kick to the finish.

Alas, I fear this is never to be.  All is not fair in love and war…or, apparently, sport!

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

To check out the PE Update.com website, Click Here!
To subscribe to the free Fun Stuff for PE Newsletter, Click Here!

[tags]sports humor, sports humour,physical education,timeouts in sport[/tags]