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Year 1, Gymnastics, Unit 1 Lesson 3

Learning Intentions

  1. Identify shapes that are thick, wide, curled, straight, piked and tucked
  2. Copy and change shapes
  3. Demonstrate four different shapes

Skill Development: Muscle tension to hold shapes

Success Criteria

  1. I can recognise and show different shapes.
  2. I can use muscle tension to hold a shape for three seconds.
  3. I can adapt a basic shape to make one of my own.


Starter Activity

Play Musical Statues: Children should move around the room using a variety of movements: hopping, skipping, jumping, walking, running, etc. When the music stops, they must hold a shape of their choice for 3 seconds then continue moving.

Extension: Teacher calls for a particular shape to be shown straight, wide, curled, tucked, or piked—encourage the children to make shapes at different levels.

Skill Development

Muscle Tension to Hold Shapes

Children should run through the muscle tension activities below as led by the teacher. Set up so children are working in pairs on a mat and all can see the teacher. (You could also use children to help demonstrate.)

  • Rag Doll and Tin Soldier: Ask children to stand as if they were a rag doll. Then ask children to stand as a tin soldier, and discus the difference. In twos one person stand as a tin soldier and partner will gently push from behind and tin soldier must use muscle tension to stop them from falling—change positions
  • Dish Shape Raises: Lie on the floor on your back. Keeping legs straight and head between arms, lift feet /legs and arms /head slightly off the floor to form a dish shape. Hold for three seconds and return to the floor. Repeat several times.
  • Arch Shape Raises: Turning over onto the tummy, lift legs/feet and arms/head slightly off the floor to make an arch shape. Hold for three seconds and return to the floor, repeating several times.

Key Questions

  1. What do muscles do?
  2. How can we use our muscles to help us stay still?
  3. Can you describe what is meant by tension?


Showing and Adapting Shapes: Using the dish shape learnt in the skill development, demonstrate to children how a shape can be easily adapted to another shape (or a variation of the same shape).

Dish to Tuck: Lie on back in dish shape. Whilst in the shape, bend knees and bring them towards your chest and bring arms forward to hold legs in a tuck position.

Dish to Star: Lie on back in dish shape, then open legs keeping them straight and off the floor to make a wide shape.

Give children some time to experiment and discover how many shapes they can adapt and change.

Split the group in two. One half should show a base shape (like dish) and then how they have adapted and changed it. The other half of the group should comment on the change that they can see. Swap so both groups can perform their shapes.


Teaching Points

Always hold shape for three seconds

Show good muscle tension to hold shape

Use different levels to vary shapes