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Taking action to promote physical activity – Level 8

Intended outcomes

Students will:

  • devise and apply strategies to ensure that their social, cultural, and physical needs are met in personal or group physical activities (8B4)
  • critically analyse societal attitudes and practices that shape the physical activity patterns of a society (8D1)
  • analyse the messages (both implicit and explicit) in one of New Zealand's national physical activity programmes (8D1)
  • create, justify, and implement an action plan to promote regular physical activity in order to fill a need in their school or community (8D2 and 8D3)
  • evaluate an action plan that promotes regular physical activity in order to fill a need in their school or community (8D3)

Link to NCEA achievement standard

These activities will help to prepare students for assessment against the following NCEA achievement standard:

Key area of learning

  • Physical activity

Teachers' note

Students will need prior knowledge about the concept of hauora (which they should have gained from their previous work in physical education).

Background information

Explain to students that these activities are designed to help them build their knowledge about people's patterns of physical activity. They will go on to take individual or collective action to address an issue involving a group that needs to participate in more regular physical activity.

Students will use the action competence learning process to plan their action. Students should, at the same time, plan, maintain, and review a physical activity programme that they have designed to suit their personal interests and lifestyle needs.


Resources that could be useful for these activities include:

Useful websites include:

  • Sport and Recreation New Zealand (information formerly held on the Hillary Commission website has been transferred to this site): www.sportnz.org.nz


Below are five possible learning activities for this learning experience.

Activity 1: Investigating New Zealanders' participation in physical activity

Explain to students that they are to gather and consider factual information about patterns in New Zealanders' participation in physical activity. They will go on to think critically about why the observed patterns are present and what issues cause concern.

Share the learning goals with them and establish success criteria.

Students use statistics from SPARC Facts: Results of the New Zealand Sport and Physical Activity Surveys (1997-2001) (Sport and Recreation New Zealand, 2003) to obtain information about the physical activity patterns of New Zealanders.

Specifically, students could gather information about:

  • how New Zealanders' levels of physical activity compare with those of people from other countries
  • what types of physical activity New Zealanders engage in the most
  • whether different age groups choose to engage in different types of physical activity
  • what the recommended level of physical activity is for a specific age group
  • whether New Zealanders' physical activity levels meet the guidelines recommended by the World Health Organization or SPARC (formerly the Hillary Commission)

In groups, students discuss their findings. Some may identify issues that they would like to plan to address; if so, they should record the issue because they will be able to use it in activities 4 and 5 in this learning experience.

Teachers' note: How much physical activity is needed to promote adolescents' well-being?

Experts recommend that adolescents should be physically active on a daily basis. 'Moderate-intensity' activities (such as thirty minutes of brisk walking) or shorter, more intense activities (such as jogging or playing ball games for 15–20 minutes) are beneficial. Some teenagers will also benefit from more vigorous activities, such as sports training, but excessive physical activity can be harmful, for example, if it leads to overuse injuries or menstrual abnormalities or to a student dropping out of activity programmes.

Activity 2: Examining the influences

Explain to students that they are to investigate the factors that influence people's participation in physical activity. This will enable them, in Activity 5 below, to identify an issue relating to community or school physical activity that they can take action to address.

Students brainstorm factors that influence people's participation in regular physical activity and go on to discuss these and categorise them under the following headings:

  • social factors – for example, feeling included, being with friends
  • physical factors – for example, improving skills, maintaining fitness, physical disability
  • geographic factors – for example, accessibility, availability of facilities
  • cultural factors – for example, what is encouraged by family, customs
  • attitudes and values – for example, response to challenge and competition, lack of confidence, a desire to have one's abilities recognised by others)

Each student then prepares a report to show:

  • the factors that contribute to the physical activity patterns they identified in 'Activity 1: Investigating participation'
  • the factors that influence their own level of physical activity
  • other factors that may influence people's levels of physical activity

Teachers' notes: Promoting physical activity

Physical activity is considered to be essential to people's physical, social, mental and emotional, and spiritual well-being. In order to form lifelong exercise habits, people need to be encouraged to enjoy regular physical activity from an early age.

Key strategies that have been identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) for promoting participation in physical activity include:

  • raising people's awareness of the benefits of physical activity through programmes based on research findings
  • developing and promoting policies and guidelines that involve making links to organisations, including health agencies and community groups
  • creating partnerships and networks to provide comprehensive physical activity programmes for people of all ages
  • focusing especially on the needs of young people
  • promoting physical activity in such key contexts as schools, communities, workplaces, recreation centres, and institutions that promote health
  • promoting physical activity by using family members, friends, and role models
  • ensuring that people have a balanced programme of physical activities, including activities that are: competitive and co-operative; fun and enjoyable; challenging; inclusive; for individuals, groups, and teams; and safe

Activity 3: Undertaking research and critical analysis

Students undertake research about programmes and initiatives that promote physical activity. They go on to critically analyse these programmes.

Allocate students a website address so that they can collect information about physical activity initiatives or programmes designed to address national and/or local physical activity issues. (For suggestions of websites, see 'Website information' box below.) Students collect the following information:

  • the title of the programme
  • the name of the group or groups that back or sponsor the programme
  • the target group
  • the objective of the programme
  • how this objective is measured

Teachers' notes: Website information

Information about local programmes can be found on city or regional council websites. For example, the Christchurch City Council site (www.ccc.govt.nz) has a recreation section with information on programmes such as Active Christchurch and the Older Adults Programme.

Information about nationwide programmes can be found using the Sport New Zealand website (www.sportnz.org.nz), which has information on many programmes, including:

  • Push Play
  • Kids' Projects: Sport as a Business, Sport and Weather, and Healthy Active Lifestyles
  • Young People First: Moving Through Sport
  • Kiwisport
  • Sportfit
  • Coaching Kids
  • Fair Play
  • Green Prescription

Students then critically analyse the programmes they have researched, asking questions such as the following:

  • Why has this particular group been targeted?
  • Are any people (or groups of people) excluded from the programme?
  • How is the target group supported?
  • Who is advantaged and who is disadvantaged by the programme?
  • Whose voice is being heard in this programme?
  • What messages (implicit and explicit) does the programme convey?
  • Who supports the programme, and what do they gain by doing so?
  • What evidence is there to suggest that the programme is effective in meeting its objectives?

Activity 4: Gathering information

Students use a resource to gather information about the benefits of physical activity for themselves, other people, and society. They then decide what they may need to do to plan a successful initiative (in Activity 5: Into action).

Provide your students with relevant sections of the 'Graham report' of the Sport, Fitness, and Leisure Ministerial Taskforce entitled Getting Set for an Active Nation. The information on pages 36-38 of this report can help students to formulate ideas about the benefits of physical activity for the community and for society.

After students have gathered their information, engage them in critical thinking about the information they have gathered, using the 'Engaging students in critical thinking' sample questions as a guide.

Teachers' note: Co-operative learning

The jigsaw method of co-operative learning is an effective method of ensuring that all students contribute to accessing information in a resource. For information about co-operative learning, refer to Cooperative Learning in New Zealand Schools (Brown and Thomson, 2000).

Activity 5: Into action

Students decide on an issue to address, and work through the action competence learning process to create and justify an action plan to promote regular physical activity in order to fill a need in their school or community.

Students implement their action plans, then go on to reflect on their learning and on their achievements. They evaluate their action plan in terms of how far it achieved its objectives and benefited the school or community and also identify aspects that could be improved to increase the plan's effectiveness.

As part of their evaluation of their own learning, students should recognise that they now have the knowledge and experience to initiate change and to be effective promoters of health – their own health and also that of their family and friends, their peers, their community, their school, and their society.