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Possible Learning Activities

  • Use taped music to explore a range of movements in the water, such as running, hopping, turning, and bouncing. Encourage experimentation.
  • Extend these activities to include partner actions, such as washing machines, making whirlpools, sawing logs, and rebound jumping. Introduce movement formations with groups of four to eight students to make waves across the pool and to play follow-the-leader using such actions as hopping, taking large steps, bouncing on two feet, and running. For these activities, pair less confident students with those more competent (1C2).
  • Encourage underwater upper-body movements, such as clapping, sweeping, pulling, and pushing. These activities are best undertaken when students go into a modified crouch position with shoulders just under the water.
  • Foster movement sequences in the water, such as having students walk four steps with arm support, bob down, and then, using small steps, walk sideways, bounce on both feet, and then bob under before jumping vertically with an arm above their head. As new skills are developed, these can be built into the sequence.

Extend these movement sequences into relay-type activities to foster team spirit.

  • Incorporate a full range of clean and safe land-based equipment into the pool environment. Balls and hoops are recommended because they dry quickly. Beginning with partner activities, equipment can be used for groups of four, teams of eight, and whole-class activities, such as well-known games, simple relays, and different movement patterns in the water (2C1).
  • Establish four “stations” around the pool with a different activity at each. After a set period of time at each “station”, the students move around the circuit by using either a single or varied movement action, such as bunny hopping, large giant strides, walking backwards, or wading with long paddling movement of the arms. These and other “enjoyment activities” are ideally suited to warm up at the beginning of the lesson or to unwind at its conclusion.
  • Use folk dance music and formations to develop team activities. Steps can be modified for the aquatic environment, but the rhythm of the music is ideally suited to movement patterns. These can be made progressively more challenging as competence develops.
  • Extend the idea of circuits by having some students in the pool and some on the poolside. Make the changes quickly to keep the students warm. The activities selected for the time spent out of the water should be vigorous. In-and-out-of-the-pool circuits could incorporate safe entries and exits.
  • Initiate follow-the-leader circuits to foster innovation and creativity.
  • Construct an obstacle-course circuit where students climb over, duck under, or swim through a range of obstacles. Be conscious of safety. If students do not wish to go over, under, or through the obstacle, they simply avoid it and move to the next challenge with their team members.
  • Students can develop a class code of behaviour to ensure a safe emotional environment in the changing room area. Enjoyment for students can easily be jeopardised if comments on such aspects as cultural identity, body shape, body size, and clothing cause embarrassment.

Suggested learning outcomes

Students will:

  • use the aquatic environment to enjoy physical activity (1A2)
  • participate cooperatively in aquatic games (1C2)
  • include and support others when taking part in aquatic activities (2C1)
  • show respect and support for personal and cultural preferences when changing for aquatic activities (1D1/3).

Assessment opportunity

Observe students and record comments about their participation and co-operation when using equipment in the aquatic (1C2).


(especially taha tinana and taha whānau)

Enjoying physical activity and movement within a caring and supportive environment.

Health promotion

Taking collective action to help create a caring and inclusive learning environment.

Assessment opportunity

Encourage students to peer assess, perhaps using a smiley face continuum, to indicate the support they gave to and received from their partner while participating in aquatic activities (2C1).

Teachers' notes

  • These experiences help students to develop effective relationships with others and to work together to achieve a common goal (social and co operative skills).
  • These experiences help students gain confidence by having fun in the water and by practising well-known activities and group games. Enjoyment should, however, be an essential component of all aquatic activities.
  • If using a tape deck for musical accompaniment, take care with plugs and leads near water.
  • Fun activities and games often serve to reduce anxiety and foster the development of skills, confidence, and teamwork and a concern for safety. Relays and games can be modified to provide a specific outcome or skill. 
  • A postbox activity may be used to construct a class code of behaviour, not only in the changing area where many students are sensitive, but also in other aspects that affect the enjoyment of others.
  • Rather than spending valuable and often restricted pool time explaining activities, games, circuits, and relays, they can be practised as part of the land-based programme before being adapted to water.