Physical activity lesson plan for lower secondary school

A 3-hour lesson package for health education in lower secondary school


The objective is to increase understanding of physical, mental and social health from the perspective of physical activity (T5). The objective is to guide the pupil to recognise and assess their own physical activity and sleep habits and reflect on resources that are important for their health (T7).


The study module contains physical activity teaching content and a sleep-related reflection section. The plan also includes ideas for utilising teaching technology and suggestions for additional lessons.

Select the most important topics in terms of managing time use and adapt the lessons in the way you consider best.


The pupils need a computer, tablet or at least a smart phone and internet connection. For the third lesson, the pupils also need to fill in a diary in advance concerning their amount of physical activity and sleep during a one-week period. The diary template for monitoring physical activity and sleep is available as a print-out or an electronic version.

Other notes

It’s a good idea to fill in the diary close to the date of the third lesson. The pupils can also fill in the questionnaire based on their memory. If the previous week was unusual for some reason, such as illness, this should be taken into consideration when interpreting the diary. You can instruct the pupil to fill in the questionnaire again later during an ordinary week.


The slide series about physical activity (pdf)

Lesson 1 (45 min.)

Lesson 1 topics:

  • Physical activity
  • The benefits of physical activity
  • Sedentary behaviour


  • Assignment 1. Ask the pupils to discuss the following questions in pairs or small groups:
    • What is physical activity? (joint word cloud in the Mentimeter application)
    • What kind of physical activity do you enjoy?
  • Information content 1. Review what the concept “physical activity” means (slide 5). You can combine the answers on a board or in Mentimeter and start by reviewing what the pupils think physical activity means.
  • Assignment 2. A reflection assignment (slide 6), either independently or in pairs:
    • What could physical activity do for you?
    • Functional teaching idea: Play bingo on a 3×3 grid, where the pupils write something that physical activity could do for them in every square. Then the pupils try to find others who have written the same type of things on their bingo grid.
    • Physical activity can inspire a lot of different feelings. On the other hand, physical activity can be a way of dealing with emotions. This section provides an opportunity to discuss physical activity and emotions with the pupils. You can add a functional element by asking the pupils to place themselves on an arc according to their opinion. For example, do certain activity situations inspire positive or negative feelings. Another option is to present emotions using pantomime.
    • Helpful questions:
      • What emotions have you felt in different physical activity situations?
      • What caused that feeling?
      • Are there any physical activity situations in which you have trouble controlling your emotions?
      • Why is it sometimes good to control your emotions?
      • How do the emotions affect behaviour in physical activity situations?
      • How does physical activity help you deal with emotions?
      • How are disappointments and physical activity linked to each other?
  • Assignment 3. Write down the benefits of physical activity on, for example, a Padlet wall.
  • Information content 2. Use the Padlet wall to review the benefits of physical activity under the teacher’s direction (slides 7–8).
  • Assignment 4. Ask the pupils to discuss the following questions in pairs or small groups. After the discussion, you can collect the answers in, for example, Mentimeter or Padlet. The students can also answer the questions directly into Mentimeter without the pair discussion.
      • How do long periods of sitting or other sedentary behaviour affect your body and mind? How do you feel afterwards? (Mentimeter, Padlet)
      • Lower secondary school pupils may spend a lot of time being sedentary. How much time do you think you spend sitting?
  • Information content 3. Review how sedentary behaviour can affect health (slides 10–11).
  • Assignment 5. Plan your own exercise breaks or try an exercise break from a video (slide 12).


  • Homework: For homework, the pupils reflect on how they could increase physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviour while at school and during their leisure time. Choose one method for the whole class (slide 13).
  • At the end of this lesson, you can instruct the pupils to fill in the diary (if there is one week before lesson 3 (slide 38)).


Lesson 2 (45 min.)

Lesson 2 topics:

  • Physical activity recommendation
  • Physical activity and safety


  • Homework review: Arrange a vote or draw to select one of the pupils’ ideas for increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary behaviour for the whole class.
  • Information content 1. Physical activity recommendation for children and adolescents – Animation of Pyry and Aida’s day: Show the pupils the two-minute animation about the key themes of the physical activity recommendation.
    • You can ask the pupils to write down the suggestions presented in the video. What makes up the physical activity recommendation?
  • Orientation: An active quiz about the physical activity recommendation (the quiz is on slides 17–27). Now the pupils answer questions about what makes up the physical activity recommendation.
  • Information content 2. Review the physical activity recommendation. You can also use the prepared presentation material.
  • Assignment 1. Work in pairs or small groups and think up as many examples of light, moderate and vigorous physical activity as possible (slides 29–30).
  • Information content 3. Physical activity to improve endurance (slide 31)
  • Information content 4. Physical activity to strengthen the muscles (slide 32)
  • Information content 5 and Assignment .2 Physical activity to strengthen the bones (slide 33)
  • Information content 5 and Assignment 3. Research data on the physical activity of young people and a reflection assignment (slides 34).
    • What are the reasons for physical activity or lack of physical activity?
  • Information content 6. Physical activity and safety (slides 35–37)
  • Assignment 4. Instruct the students to keep a diary about their physical activity and sleep for a one-week period before the next lesson (slide 38).


Lesson 3 (45 min.)

Lesson 3 topics:

  • My physical activity


  • Assignment 1. Complete the online physical activity questionnaire
  • Review the online physical activity questionnaire (slides 41–44). You can write down your own thoughts.
    • Reflection assignment: Look at the summary view of the online questionnaire and compare it with the physical activity recommendation (slide 41).
    • Slide 42, sleep – Look at the bar graph showing how much you sleep in the online questionnaire summary view. (After this lesson, you can continue with another lesson on sleep in which you examine the sleep diagram in more detail).
    • Slide 43 – Independent reflection regarding how to continue the plan.
    • Slides 44 – Instruct the pupils to look for tips at the end of the summary window. You can instruct the pupils to choose one suitable and concrete tip that corresponds to their development target. The pupil can also develop their own tip. After this, the pupil fills in a plan for increasing their physical activity or sleep. The planning template for increasing physical activity or sleep is available as a print-out or an electronic version.
      • The goals of the plan can be prepared according to the SMART principle:
        • S = Specific
        • M = Measurable
        • A = Achievable
        • R = Relevant
        • T = Time-bound


Lesson 4 (45 min.)

Sleep and rest are suitable content for lesson 4.

  • Use the following questions to reflect on the sleep diagram produced from the physical activity questionnaire:
    • What factors detract from sleep that is good quality and sufficient in terms of amount?
    • What development proposals do you have related to sleep and rest?
    • What development proposals do you have related to everyday routines?
    • Do you have a good rest and physical activity ratio?
    • How could you improve the situation?
    • Do you have time to relax and rest?



Lesson 5 (45 min.)

Nutrition is a suitable topic for lesson 5.

  • Use the Healthy Pupil Program material on


In the future

  • It’s good idea to briefly review the pupils’ plans for increasing physical activity or sleep and their implementation, for example, a couple of weeks after they were prepared.
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