Just A Minute

This week we did a fun fitness-themed lesson in first and second grade. We started out reading the book, Just A Minute. Then we had a discussion about how long a minute was. I had all the kids close their eyes and put their heads down, then raise their hand when they thought it had been a minute. Some lasted 4 seconds! Then I told them that to have a healthy body they should be able to do some activities for 1 minute without stopping. We discussed that our bodies would have to work hard to do this and the students suggested some ways we could tell if our bodies were working hard (sweating, heart beating faster, breathing hard, etc.) We then tried several activities which I timed for 1 minute on my watch. These included: jumping jacks, holding a stretch, and running in place. Then I passed out hula hoops and had them play with the hoops for one minute. We discussed how that minute went fast and finding an activity they liked for exercise was important. I then set up an obstacle course and encouraged them to work their body hard for the minutes it took to complete the obstacle course.

The lesson went especially well with 2nd graders. We had some good discussions about working our bodies hard and it led to some other teaching such as breathing deeply to increase a stretch, how to breathe to recover from a side ache, and how to have fun exercising. I felt like the children learned something about fitness from this lesson.


  • Love it! I’m not new to teaching (15 years) but new to PE! Was really nervous about the younger ones but this will go great with my circuit training unit the next couple of weeks. Thanks!

  • Hi, I am a future educator at Idaho State University. I taught this lesson to four second graders yesterday morning as part of my requirements for a elementary physical education class I am taking this semester. It was a big hit! One student waited for 8 seconds before she put up her hand in the guessing portion. Thank you for this resource!
    Katie Fielding

  • Thanks for your feedback, Katie. I’m glad your kids had fun! Good luck as you begin your teaching career.

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