Critical thinking covers many aspects of thought including planning, reasoning, logic and reflection. Physical education class, or P.E., can incorporate all the aspects of critical thinking in many activities. It is the job of the teacher to make students think about the lessons they are being taught to utilize critical thinking skills.
Ball in the Bucket
In this activity, break the students into groups of four. Provide the students with one ball and place a bucket at the opposite end of the gym. Have the students design the most creative ways to get the ball into the bucket in four moves. Tell the students that the ball may be kicked, thrown, bounced or hit in any original and creative way. Let the students have some time to plan on how they will accomplish this. After they have come up with a plan, allow some practice time for each group. Let each group rework their plan if necessary. Have the entire class vote on which group had the most creative plan.
Sink the Ship
Place mats around the gym at equal distances from each other. Break the students into groups of four. Each team must designate a gopher and three people to stay on the mat. Place four bowling pins around the mats and give each group one to two small balls to start. The goal is to knock off all the pins to "sink" the ship. The three students on the mat must protect the pins while also attacking the other ships. The gophers collect the balls the students on the mats cannot get. The students must work as a team and develop strategies to protect and knock down the other team's pins.
Cross the Sea
Break students into groups of five or six. Provide each group with two gym mats. Tell the students that they are on a tropical island and they must cross the gym to return to safety. The gym mats are the boats. The students must work the gym mats across the gym without any of the students falling off the mat. If any student steps off the map the entire group must go back to the start and try again.
Capture the Flag
Divide the students into two teams. Give each team a flag and tell them to place it in one corner of the gym. The center line of the gym will divide the two teams. When a player is on their team's side of the line they are safe. When they cross the line they can be tagged and placed in "jail." The jail can be the sidelines or opposite corner of the gym. The students should devise a strategy to take the other team's flag while protecting their own flag at the same time. The team that captures the other team's flag and returns it to their own side is the winner.
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