Often class sizes are too large for all students to be on the climbing wall at one time. Since physical educators are tasked with maximizing moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, having students wait in line to climb is not best practice. Establishing a number of different stations within the gym, with the climbing wall as one of the stations, offers a solution to this problem. Setting up three stations, with 10-12 students in each, can keep classes of 30+ students actively engaged.
When establishing the non-climbing stations, consider keeping the focus on climbing by creating stations that have students utilize muscles, actions and behaviors that will help to develop rock climbing and associated skills. StartFIT Activity Packages make setting up such stations easy. The packages include a teacher resource guide with detailed lesson plans and all needed equipment – conveniently stored on a mobile cart.
Once your students have some experience with climbing and have demonstrated the ability to follow all safety rules, you can try these three stations for Grades 3 and up. They’ll bring fun and fitness to your next physical education class! Keep in mind that this format also works well for before- and after-school programming.
Station 1: Climbing Wall Cone Challenge
Students climb while moving beanbags from the climbing wall to cones or from cones to the climbing wall.
- Cones (made of soft, flexible plastic), one per 4-foot wide panel
- Bean bags, one per 4-foot wide panel
Advance Set Up
Place cones on mats 12-24 inches from the climbing wall, one per panel section. Place one beanbag on each climbing wall panel by resting it on a hand hold. Be sure to vary the location of beanbags, with some higher and some lower.
The first climber climbs to each cone and (while remaining on the climbing wall) removes the beanbags and rests them on top of the cones. The next climber removes the beanbags and places them back on the wall. The activity continues in this way with students alternating between removing and replacing beanbags as they climb. When climbers reach the end of the wall, they should climb down, step off the mats and restart the activity.
This station helps to develop flexibility, muscular strength, muscular endurance, coordination and problem solving.
Station 2: Keep It Up
Students work together to keep a ball in the air.
- Beach ball, one per group
Students form a circle and tap the ball overhead to one another, trying to keep it in the air for as long as possible. Students should keep count of how many touches they have and work together to increase the total number of consecutive touches during their time at this station.
This station helps to develop coordination, flexibility and teamwork.
Station 3: Escape Ball
Students work together to keep a ball from escaping.
- Coated foam ball
Students form a circle facing in, with one person in the center who has the ball. Students in the circle should stand with their feet spaced apart so that they are touching the feet of the person on either side of them. They cannot move their feet from this position. The person in the center is “it” and tries to roll the ball through the legs of the participants in the circle. To stop the ball from escaping, the participants in the circle must bend over and use their hands to block the ball. Anyone who lets the ball through becomes “it.”
This station helps to develop flexibility, core strength and teamwork.