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Sports studies


This online resource supports the implementation of Health and Physical Education in the New Zealand Curriculum (1999) by providing teachers with ideas for planning units of work in this key area of learning. This resource should be used in conjunction with appropriate instruction manuals for the teaching of particular games and sports.

PDF icon. Health and Physical Education in the New Zealand Curriculum (1999) (PDF, 688 KB)

Although the sample units presented include a teaching sequence, teachers are encouraged to explore the range of teaching processes and adapt the ideas and contexts to suit their students' needs. Teachers may also adapt activities from different year levels to meet objectives at the level the students are working at.

Each sample unit includes an overview, a suggested teaching sequence, and student recording sheets.

The sample units are grouped into two grouping – years 6 and 7 and years 9 and 10.

Teaching and learning in the key area of learning "sport studies" is intended to address more than the physical skills and tactics required to play particular games. Teaching and learning includes the three major learning dimensions:

  • Learning in sport;
  • Learning through sport;
  • Learning about sport.

Learning in sport: provides opportunities to learn particular physical skills, rules, and strategies to play a range of games and sports. Students can also develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes for umpiring, coaching others, and organising games or tournaments.

Learning through sport: provides opportunities to learn and practice skills and behaviours such as fair play, teamwork, inclusiveness, tolerance, social responsibility, leadership, effective communication, and managing competition.

Learning about sport: provides opportunities for students to understand sport from scientific, technological, social, and cultural perspectives.

The underlying concepts and sports studies pages highlight how opportunities provided through the sport studies key area of learning relate to the underlying curriculum concepts.

The teaching approaches provide an overview of the approaches used in the units.

Teachers are encouraged to explore issues about sport in our society that are relevant to the needs and interests of their students. Themes that could be addressed as part of learning through and about sport may include:

  • Identity and sport:How does sport work to develop personal and community identity? In this theme students can consider the meaning of sport to the individual, parochialism, nationalism, patriotism, ethnicity, gender, and winning and losing.
  • Sport and business: In this theme students can consider how sponsorship, professionalism, politics and commercialism may affect the version of sport we see as spectators, how these affect the personal ethics or sport performance of elite athletes, and the idea of human bodies as commodities.
  • Media and sport: In this theme students can consider sport as it is presented in the daily media, through language, images, signs, and metaphors. What sports are privileged in the media? What status do different sports have, and what groups seem to be advantaged/disadvantaged? How does the media representation of sport relate to the construction of personal and group identity?
  • Sports equipment: In this theme students can consider aspects of the design, manufacture, and promotion of sports equipment. How accessible or useful is it to everyone? What technology is involved? What social implications are there?
  • Pleasure of sport: Why is sport enjoyable for some and not for others? How can more people be encouraged to enjoy sport? In this theme students can consider notions of excitement, fair play, competition, challenge, skill, aesthetics, and festivals.
  • Sport and health: Many people assume that sport is associated with physical and mental health, for example the development of character, well-being, fitness, and injury prevention. In this theme students can consider the assumptions validity and how sport may contribute to low levels of health.