Read opposing viewpoints and take a side; evaluate the role of physical education in helping teens learn and practice healthy behaviors 


NHES 2: Evaluate ways that  school can affect personal health

CASEL COMPETENCY: Social awareness



motor skills


Lesson Plan: Should Phys Ed Be an Elective?

Weigh the pros and cons of physical education being an elective class.

1. Preparing to Read

Before you read the debate “Should Phys Ed Be an Elective?”, ask your students the following pre-reading question:

What are the pros and cons of requiring  phys ed classes during the school day?

2. Reading and Discussing

  • Have your students read the debate, “Should Phys Ed Be an Elective?” independently; read the article out loud to them; or have one student read one side of the debate and another student read the other side. 

  • After they’ve read the debate, revisit the pre-reading question. Have their answers changed? Remind them to vote in the poll at the end of the story.
  • Next, have your students answer the Close-Reading and Critical-Thinking questions, either working in small groups or independently.

Close-Reading Questions
The following questions can be shared in printable or interactive form from the Resources tab. 

  1. Why does Ryan think it is harder to get an effective workout in a required phys ed class?
  2. How do required phys ed students benefit students, according to Jheel? List at least three benefits she mentioned in the debate.

Critical-Thinking Questions

  1. Why do you think some students might be reluctant to participate in mandatory phys ed classes?
  2. If phys ed classes were not mandatory, what are some other ways students could get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day?

3. Building Comprehension and Vocab

Check students’ comprehension of and engagement with the story with the following assessment tools:

  • Quiz

  • Vocab Builder

4. Expanding SEL Opportunities

Continue the learning journey with the following extension activity: 

In A BRIEF HISTORY OF PHYS ED, your students get the chance to do some more digging on the historical origins of P.E. classes, including the surprising truth about why the class was originally created in the U.S. If you wish, you can scaffold their investigation by providing this article for them to read beforehand. An answer key is included on the second page of the activity. Once students have shared their answers with one another, have them take a final position in the debate and vote in our live poll.

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