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Name of Activity:

Muscle Movements

Purpose of Activity:

Students will be able to identify major muscle groups in the body and also gain an understanding of muscle functions.


Verbal terminology related to muscles and their functions are a part of daily warm-up sessions in physical education activity classes. The correct anatomical words are used on a daily basis in class sessions.

Suggested Grade Level:


Materials Needed:

1. Classroom setting with desks/tables and chairs. 2. Small index card for each student. 3. Writing utensil for each student. 4. Overhead projector plus tranparencies. 5. Blackboard, white board or large easel with "flip" chart.

Description of Idea

1. As students enter the classroom for the lesson, each takes a small index card in addition to some muscle identification study guides.

2. The teacher begins by asking each class member to write the name of any muscle he or she is familiar with on ONE side of the card and its function (i.e. what it does) on the OTHER side of the card. 

3. Students are then directed to exchange cards with someone else in the class.

4. Using a read around technique, each student shares the muscle that is listed on the index card they are holding and what the stated function is for that muscle. A large "chart" has been made on the blackboard or easel with columns for "muscle name" and "muscle

5. When everyone has had an opportunity to contribute an answer, cards are returned to their owners.

6. The process is repeated again (especially if a large variety of muscles have not "surfaced")
with each student naming a different muscle and its function. The second time after the cards are exchanged, volunteer contributions can be taken to continue making additions to the developing chart.

***The exchange of cards places most students in a "comfort" zone as the answer they are reading is not their own so if it is incorrect in any way they do not have to take ownership or be embarrassed.

7. After the second "round" most classes produce a fairly large chart with some variety.

8. Using a brainstorming technique, students and the teacher identify which muscles and functions are correct. During this process correct movement terms (i.e. flexion, extension, etc.) are identified often for the first time to the class members. Often the words they individually choose for the functions are somewhat

9. A "stretch" break allowing students to stand up and move about in the room offers a terrific opportunity to demonstrate how the bicep flexes and extends, the
quadriceps and hamstring muscles work in opposition to each other, etc.

10. After returning to their seats the teacher can ask for volunteers to demonstrate some of the movements.

11. The overhead transparency projector is now used in conjunction with the study guides to "fill-in" the correct muscular terms. Types of muscle fibers are also part of this lesson.

Assessment Ideas:

Authentic assessment can include the use of rubrics asking students to identify muscles with their functions and classify them according
to fiber type. This can be paper and pencil or small groups with demonstrations "pointing" to muscles while identifying the correct term and demonstrating
the movement while verbalizing the correct movement term (i.e. this is the bicep and it is causing the arm to flex at the elbow joint followed by the
triceps muscle responding to straighten the arm at the elbow joint performing extension.)

Adaptations for Students with Disabilities:

Students could be paired with students without disabilities. The student without the disability could be the demonstrator while his partner speaks and identifies the muscle and its function.

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Submitted by Patricia  McDiarmid who teaches at Minnechaug Regional High School in Wilbraham , MA . Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 2/1/2001.

Viewed 49809 times since 8/24/2001.

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Muscle Movements