Name/Title: Math Balancers (Common Core)

Academic content: Math

Purpose of Event: The purpose of this activity is to work with balancing and to integrate math concepts into the lesson.

Prerequisites: Math facts and balancing on the lines on the gym floor.

Suggested Grade Level: K-2

Materials Needed: 20 poly spots, 10 balancing beam boards, 20 math fact cards (which one depends on grade level), and the letters R, L, and B.

Physical activity: Balancing

Description of Idea

Poly spots will be placed all throughout the gym on the lines. The balancing boards will be placed also on the gym lines.

First, students are to find a spot on a line. When they hear the music start, they will begin to balance on the lines. Students can imagine that there is fire on the sides of the line, so if they fall off they must quickly get back on the line.

Math fact cards will be placed on the poly spots. When a student comes up to the poly spot, they must solve the math problem. The answer to the problem will be the number of seconds to balance on one foot while on the poly spot. The answer will be on the back of the card for students to check. If the student gets the math problem wrong, then they must still do the number of seconds for the answer. On the math card will be either the letter R: right, L: left, or B: both. The letter signifies what foot will be the one the student is balancing on. The balancing boards are on the floor to make it more difficult to balance.


With lower level grades use simple addition and subtraction. For the upper level elementary, you can use multiplication and division. Once they have mastered the cards, change the math facts to double and triple digit math. To vary the balancing component, take the boards out and have them perform locomotor activities (walking, running, skipping, and etc.) instead of just balancing. Balances can also include different body parts like hands, elbows, shoulders, heels, 3-4-5-6 body part balances, etc.

Instead of the cards being on the ground, they could be placed on a table, or even clipped up in the air off a stick for the student to grab. Students with disabilities can perform simple arm/leg movements if they can't balance on the poly spot. Students could have a path to move down, while not coming off their path while moving in the gym. The path could replace the line to balance on.

Assessment Ideas:

The teacher can walk round to observe and have the students say the answer to the problem aloud. Simple wrist bands for students can be used to place on their wrists if they correctly answer the problem. Once they have a certain color number of bands on, increase the difficulty of the problems.

Submitted by Drew Burris who teaches at La Monte R-IV in La Monte, MO. Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 11/14/2014.
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