PE in the PYP

Making PSPE Units purposeful

For the majority of my teaching career, teaching PE has solely been just that - teaching PE. IF any links were made with made with other subjects then it was a bonus and usually not preplanned! Since I started teaching the IB curriculum six years ago however, I realised that Physical Education brings out so many of the Learner Profile traits and PYP attitudes than possibly any other subject. The question was just about how to construct the units and lessons effectively to bring these attitudes out effectively. Furthermore, could we move away from the traditional model of isolating sports and activities taught in blocks (E.g. 6 weeks Hockey, 6 weeks Football) into something more purposeful and meaningful where links and skills could be transferred across the activities?

A great inspiration and constant source for my planning is Andy Vasily who has pioneered all these elements and so much more on his website (PYP PE with Andy). They form many of Units here and have allowed me to tweak them with my own experiences and ideas to produce the material below.


When planning any PYP units, especially for specialists, it is essential to consult the PYP Scope and Sequence booklet. Once we have come up with a Central idea for our unit then we can use the PSPE section of this booklet to pick the meat off the bones (so to say) and delve into what we want the students to achieve. Using the wording from the three common strands (Identity, Active living, Interactions), we can develop our Lines of Inquiry and then think about our Learning Outcomes (LO) and Conceptual Understanding (CU) for each one.

Here are some of the examples of some of the rough ideas we have brainstormed to use as planners, devised with our PYP coordinator. In some cases, we were able to piece together a unit from G1 right through to G5 using the same Central Idea and just changing the LOs and CUs. This has made for real connections as the students move through the year grades and we are able to link up ideas and make the learning meaningful.

This is something that we put together at the start of the school unit to coincide with the classroom teachers first unit - Inspiring Individuals. We looked at 'striving for understanding', 'developing passion', 'being inclusive and caring' and 'ethical action', and then identified how we could embed it into the scope and sequence of PYP PE. The result was the poster (left) which we created and then shared with the students at the start of the year. We were then able to use this to help draw up Essential Agreements with the students and we could refer back to it throughout the unit as a point of reference.