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Planning, Teaching using the Movement Wheel

In teaching fundamental movement skills (FMS), we encourage our young learners to explore all the different movements at different times, doing independent or several combinations of movements.

How do we make use of the movement wheel in physical education to plan and teach our students? The movement wheel can be functional in helping teachers sequence, scaffold and connect several possibilities when planning for activities.

As you read this, refer to the movement wheel below so you can see how it functions and why it matters.


Based on my personal experience of teaching locomotor movements, I started with the following sequence:

  • Walking

  • Running (chasing and fleeing)

  • Chasing and fleeing is demonstrated using a running movement

Walking and running are movement skills that students were confident to perform. This initial confidence can give us a higher rate of success when performing these movements.

  • Galloping (very similar to running)

  • Hopping

  • Skipping

Hopping and skipping are taught at the end because students need to develop balancing skills before they are able to perform these movements.

For non locomotor movements (these are movements of the different body parts), encourage students to move in their own space (I call it spots in the early years). Introduce movements that involve the different parts of the body. Start from the top to the bottom so students have a clear understanding how each part of the body moves. Let them explore in many different ways so this can enrich their movement vocabulary.


When students have a rich experience of the different movement skills in various activities, one can start combining the movements. More complex skills like hopping or skipping would require a prerequisite skill which may at times already involve the use of non-locomotor movements. One example is the balancing skill. Balancing is a prerequisite skill when one wants to hop and skip. This is one reason why hopping and skipping are not the first to go in sequence. Swinging one's arms forward and backward is a non-locomotor movement that is present always when performing all the locomotor movements.

Combining several fundamental movement skills would require some level of competency. Keep in mind that prior to the combination, students should have had opportunities of practice to develop these skills.

When they are now adept at combining movements, you may start adding Movement Concepts (space, effort, relationships) Teachers can decide on what movements your set of students can perform at the moment. Do not overload them with too many combinations.

For example:

  • Walk(L) forward(D) in a fast(E) manner in high level(S), following a curved pathway alongside a friend(R).

  • Hop slowly in a straight line

  • Jump forward on a low level

The movement experiences should be purposeful, and targets the skills that your students need to develop at every level.

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