Utilizing Physical Education to Support Principals of Biomechanics


  • Emily Clapham University of Rhode Island
  • Karie Orendorff Montana State University
  • Kimberly Fournier Florida Gulf Coast University


National Biomechanics Day, Physical Education, Physical Literacy


Purpose:  We aimed to engage middle school students in science standards (NGSS) and physical education standards (SHAPE America). We employed targeted physical activities that  emphasized both SHAPE America physical education and NGSS standards in an effort to improve middle school level students’ understanding of biomechanical principles.

Methods: Fourteen 8th grade children (age 12-14 years; 9 female, 5 male) participated in the NBD activities.  As a group, students first participated in physical activities designed to emphasize principles related to forces. Students were then divided into 2 smaller groups in order to rotate through 2 additional sessions designed to quantify/analyze movement.

 Results: We hypothesized that physical education activities that explicitly emphasized elements of physical and life sciences would help provide 8th grade students with a more meaningful understanding of the content. By using physical education activities as a pedagogical tool; we hypothesized that students would enjoy learning and would make meaningful, real-world connections between biomechanics and everyday interests.

Conclusion: Children were able to improve their knowledge of interrelated STEM areas. Targeted physical activities emphasizing biomechanical principles appear to be viable pedagogical tool for enhancing the understanding of physical and life sciences in middle school curricula.


Download data is not yet available.


America, S. (2013). National Standards for K-12 Physical Education. Reston, VA: SHAPE America-Society of Health and Physical Educators.

Braunger, J., & Hart-Landsberg, S. (1994). Crossing Boundaries: Explorations in Integrative Curriculum.

Castelli, D. M., Hillman, C. H., Buck, S. M., & Erwin, H. E. (2007). Physical fitness and academic achievement in third-and fifth-grade students. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 29(2), 239-252.

DeVita, P. (2018). Why national biomechanics day?. Journal of Biomechanics, 71, 1-3.

Donnelly, J. E., Hillman, C. H., Castelli, D., Etnier, J. L., Lee, S., Tomporowski, P., & Szabo-Reed, A. N. (2016). Physical activity, fitness, cognitive function, and academic achievement in children: a systematic review. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 48(6), 1197.

Fogarty, R. (1991). Ten ways to integrate curriculum. Educational leadership, 49(2), 61-65.

Forey, G., & Cheung, L. M. E. (2019). The benefits of explicit teaching of language for curriculum learning in the physical education classroom. English for Specific Purposes, 54, 91-109.-65.

Hurd, P. D. (1991). Why We Must Transform Science Education. Educational leadership, 49(2), 33-35.

Hursh, B., Haas, P., & Moore, M. (1983). An interdisciplinary model to implement general education. The journal of higher education, 54(1), 42-59.

Liu, O. L., Lee, H. S., Hofstetter, C., & Linn, M. C. (2008). Assessing knowledge integration in science: Construct, measures, and evidence. Educational Assessment, 13(1), 33-55.

Merica, C. B., Chun, Y., Bailey, J., & Egan, C. A. (2021). National Biomechanics Day: A Novel and Collaborative Recruitment Tool. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 92(6), 48-56.

NGSS Lead States. Next Generation Science Standards: For states, by states. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2013.

Nielsen, M. E. (1989). Integrative learning for young children: A thematic approach. Educational Horizons, 68(1), 18-24.

Shultz, S. P., Carpes, F., Furlong, L. A., Landry, S., & DeVita, P. (2019). The internationalization of national biomechanics day. Journal of Biomechanics, 88, 1-3.

SHAPE America. National Standards for K-12 Physical Education. Reston, VA. 2013.

Standards, N. G. S. (2013). Next generation science standards: For states, by states (Vol 1) Washington.

Tanner, D. (1989). A Brief Historical Perspective of the Struggle for an Integrative Curriculum. Educational Horizons, 68(1), 6-11.

Teeter, S. D., Husseini, N. S., & Cole, J. H. (2020). Assessing changes in attitudes toward engineering and biomechanics resulting from a high school outreach event. Journal of biomechanics, 103, 109683.

Weinberg, A. E., & Sample McMeeking, L. B. (2017). Toward meaningful interdisciplinary education: High school teachers’ views of mathematics and science integration. School Science and Mathematics, 117(5), 204-213.

You, H. S. (2017). Why teach science with an interdisciplinary approach: History, trends, and conceptual frameworks. Journal of Education and Learning, 6(4), 66-77.




How to Cite

Clapham, E., Orendorff, K. ., & Fournier, K. . (2023). Utilizing Physical Education to Support Principals of Biomechanics. Journal of Health and Physical Literacy, 2(2), 70–84. Retrieved from https://johpl.org/index.php/johpl/article/view/23



Original Research