Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Exercise: The Right Stuff

Cathy Burgess
Bay District Schools


Students learn regular exercise keeps the body strong and healthy. They make an exercise chain and practice the activities written on the links.


The student understands positive health behaviors that enhance wellness.

The student knows and practices good personal health habits.


-Suggested CD, [Let's Hop], Colgate, Educational Activities, Inc. 1994 (any exercise or fitness songs will do)
-Suggested book, [Johnathan And His Mommy], Small, Little Brown & Company, 1994
-Song "Everybody Needs A Heart," [Heart Power], AHA, 1996 (see Weblinks)
-Poem "Easy as 1, 2, 3!," [Heart Power], AHA, 1996 (see Weblinks)
-Construction paper, cut 8”x 1” ,any color, 1 per child
-CD player
-Science journal


1. Cut construction paper into 8” x 1” strips. Each child needs two strips.

2. Have the CD, "Let's Hop," and the book, [Johnathan And His Mommy], out and ready to use.

3. Gather poem and song charts.

4. Make sure each child has 1 bottle of glue, the science journal, pencils and a package of crayons.

5. Write or type lyrics and give a copy to each student.


*This is lesson number six, day eight in the Happy, Healthy Me Unit

1. Sing the song, "Everybody Needs a Heart" and recite the poem "Easy as 1, 2, 3!" Review the verse about nutrients and food and how it helps the body from the previous lessons. Now look at the other verse about daily exercise and moving around enough. Relate that to the next part they will be learning about keeping their bodies healthy and fit.

2. Ask: What is exercise? (Exercise is physical activity.) Why is it important to the body? Explain that exercise is a positive health habit that helps strengthen the heart and keeps muscles and bones strong. It also helps to burn calories and reduce stress. When students are playing, they are exercising too! (That is why I encourage my children to play outside so much and not just sit around and watch TV or play video games.) You need to make exercise a daily health habit.

3. Read [Johnathan And His Mommy]. Discuss the different exercises Jonathan and his mother perform. Ask students to stand up and perform the different exercises that are described in the pages.

4. Tell them that physical activities, or exercise, helps the body in different ways. For example some exercises help keep the body flexible, or easy to bend. Have students test their flexibility with this activity: Sit on the floor with their legs stretched out in front of them. Lean forward and try to touch their toes with their fingers. Ask them to remember exactly how far they were able to stretch. Now have them stand up and put one leg out straight behind them with the foot flat on the floor. Lean forward slightly. Do the same for the other leg. Now have students sit back down on the floor and try to touch their toes again. How much farther can they stretch this time? Children will find that with their leg muscles stretched, their flexibility increased, and they could reach farther.

5. Explain that some exercise helps strengthen muscles and other exercises increase their endurance. That means the muscles can do something for a longer time. An example of this would be activities like chin-ups, push-ups, and weight lifting. (Spread out and try some push-ups.)

6. Explain that other exercises help keep the heart and lungs healthy. We know when the lungs and heart are fit, they work more efficiently together, and people can do more without tiring. An example of this would be jogging, race walking, or jumping rope. (Practice jogging in place for two minutes.)

7. Tell students: Let’s review the 3 kinds of exercise we have talked about. They are exercises to help keep the body flexible, exercises that strengthen muscles and increase endurance, and those that keep your heart fit and working properly.

8. Remind students that the heart is a muscle like other muscles in the body and that physical activity helps make muscles stronger and helps them work better. Invite students to suggest simple physical activities they can do in the classroom that they think would keep their bodies fit and feeling good. This needs to be for a short 2-3 minute time frame. Write suggestions on the board. (Examples might be running in place, jumping jacks, toe touches, knee bends, and trunk twists, etc…)

9. Distribute the construction paper strips to the students. Tell them they are going to make an exercise chain just like chains they see on Christmas trees. Ask them to write the name of a physical activity and a number that represents a short time on the construction paper slip. They can use the suggestions from the board, but encourage them to be creative and come up with more. Model an example for them. Write: Run in place, 2 minutes. Then glue (or staple) the ends together to make first circle for the exercise chain. Students should make at least two and the teacher should read them before gluing them onto the chain to assess their understanding of exercise as a healthy habit the promotes wellness for their bodies.
Some acceptable examples from students would be:
*10 jumping jacks
*10 push ups
*Run in place for 2 minutes
*Touch your toes 15 times, etc…(give positive feedback for these examples like: "Alright, 10 jumping jacks would be super because that would be great exercise for our muscles." Or "Yes! running in place for 2 minutes is a great idea because that is good exercise for our lungs." "These are such good ideas. I like how I am seeing short exercises that are good for your muscles and easy to do in class.")

*Some unacceptable examples would be 100 push-ups, jog in place for 1 hour, 75 body twists, etc…. (give constructive feedback like: Do you think 100 push-ups is something we could do that is good for your muscles? Why don’t you rethink that? I'm not sure 50 stretches would be good for the body. What else could you do?)

*Then help students join circles to make a chain. *Hang the exercise chain in the classroom.

10. During the day when children need a movement break or attention getter, go to the chain and tear off one of the circles at random. Read the activity and do it together. After the activity is complete, review what exercise means for the body.

11. Now introduce the song "Let's Hop" on the CD. Sing with the song several times until the students become familiar with it. Ask what this song has to do with today’s lesson? Distribute copies of this song to students to illustrate and keep in their portfolios.

12. Assign students to make an entry on page 4 of their science journals titled: Exercise.
Put this sentence starter on the board for those who need it:

Instead of watching TV, I could ____________________because I know
exercise________________________. I should do this at least ___times per week.

Complete sentence and illustrate.

13. Have students share journal entries with the person sitting next to them. Keep journal in the portfolio.


Formatively assess students' understanding of positive health behaviors that enhance wellness by reading the exercise chain strips each student makes and giving feedback. See step #9 in the procedures for feedback examples. Allow students to correct any mistakes.

Also the teacher is looking for students to know good personal health habits by completing the journal entry. She is specifically looking for a physical activity that explains why exercise is good for the body.


1. Invite the physical education teacher or coach to talk to the class about physical activities and their benefits. Also when you start the Happy Healthy Me unit, ask the PE teacher to focus lessons around stretching, push-ups, jogging in place, and taking the heart rate. Students could chart their growth from Day 1 of the unit, chart again in this lesson, and then chart again at the end of the unit.

2. Art Center: Using old magazines, catalogs and newspapers, have children find pictures of people participating in physical activity. Have them cut out pictures and glue them onto a poster board to make a collage.

3. The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page or by using the following URL: Once you select the unit’s link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, Associated Files. This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files (if any).

Web Links

Use this link to obtain copies of the songs, "Everybody Needs A Heart" and "Easy As 1, 2, 3."
A Message From Your Heart

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