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P.E. Math Movements Inspired by the Sports We Know and Love

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integrating math into physical education lesson plans, math fluency with sports, activities and

Math Activities with a Sports Theme

In case you aren’t familiar, active math movements are short physical exercises students can do while improving math fluency. Since they involve physical activity, these movements are perfect for gym class! Finding math and physical education activities can be easier than you think. Best of all, movement is proven to enhance children’s learning and improve memory retention.

Many children and adults love to play sports. Bringing a sports theme to math games can heighten children’s interest in building number sense. Math lessons can become extremely engaging and fun!

Here are three of our favorite active math movements inspired by popular sports. These movements are designed to aid in teaching and practicing locomotor and manipulative skills while also skip counting. Improve your students’ math fluency with these sports activities below!

Basketball - Dribbling for 3s

Have students practice skip counting by 3s with or without a basketball. First, have students cross their bodies with their right hand in front of them, dribble (or pretend-dribble) the ball, and whisper, “One.”

Next, have students cross their bodies with their left hand, dribble, and whisper, “Two.”

Finally, have students dribble the ball with both hands and say, “THREE!” loudly. (Alternatively, if not using basketballs, have students clap while saying “three.”)

Repeat this up to 30.

Volleyball - Underhand/Bump Pass for 4s

Learn how to hit a volleyball over the net while counting by 4s.

First, ask your students to assume an athletic stance (hips, knees, and ankles bent, feet shoulder-width apart) and whisper, “One.”

Next, have students put their forearms together and whisper, “Two.”

Students will hit the ball with their forearms and whisper, “Three.”

Finally, as the ball goes over the net, have students clap and say, “FOUR!” loudly.

Practice this exercise together as a class without a ball first, then have students practice in small groups with a volleyball. Repeat these motions up to 40.

Soccer - Side of the Foot Kick for 5s

Practice skip counting by 5s and kicking with a soccer ball. Have students step forward with their non-kicking foot, resting it next to the ball, and whisper, “One.”

Next, ask your students to bring their kicking foot back and turn their toes outward while whispering, “Two.”

Then, students will kick the ball with the inside of their foot and whisper, “Three.”

Students will follow through in the direction of the target and whisper, “Four.”
Finally, have them clap and say, “FIVE!” loudly.

Repeat this exercise to 50.

Easy Ways to Start with Math and Physical Education Activities

  • Watch our free webinar recording
  • Download a the first chapter of the P.E. Training Manual
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More Math and Physical Education

Integrating math into physical education lesson plans

Fun math activities set students up for success all throughout life. Watch not only their coordination improve but also their math fluency.

You can find hundreds of more PE active math movements in our Math & Movement Training Manual for K-5 Physical Education. This manual is perfect to help integrate math into physical education lesson plans. Find activities with football, archery, bowling, and more! We’ve even matched math movements with physical education standards and outcomes. You can begin integrating math into your physical education lesson plans as soon as your next sports unit. 

Math & Movement PE Training Manual

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