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Name of Activity:

Number Crunching

Academic content:


Purpose of Activity:

To strengthen abdominal and core muscles while learning multiplication tables.


Students should be taught 3-5 different types of crunches as well as the correct FITNESSGRAM curl-ups.

Suggested Grade Level:


Physical activity:

Crunches, curl-ups

Description of Idea

Students do sets of different types of crunches and count the total number by using multiplication skills. For example, a regular crunch and alternate side crunches could form a set of three. Students do multiple sets and count using only the sums (3, 6, 9, 12, 15, etc.). Partners can then ask additional math questions (If you did five sets of five different crunches, how many total crunches would you have done?).


Use fewer or more crunches depending on grade levels. Use higher or lower multiples. Ask division, addition, or subtraction questions. Apply progression techniques, such as adding more sets each week.

Have the student make up a math word problem using sets of crunches. For example, "Joe does four sets of four crunches. Mary does five sets of three crunches. Who does more crunches? How many more?".

Teaching Suggestions:

Stress the importance of doing correct technique. For the curlup, use appropriate protocol. Some students might need or want mats.

Adaptations for Students with Disabilities:

Use different appropriate exercises. For example, for a wheelchair student, use dumbbells to do sets and reps.

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Submitted by Chris Wirszyla who teaches at Cape Fear Elementary in Rocky Point, NC. Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 9/4/2006.

Viewed 41247 times since 12/2/2005.

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