Physical Activity Standards explained

Learn more about the Department's Physical Activity Standards here, including the content of physical education by school level. We foster physical activity for all students, whatever their abilities.

​​Physical Activity Standard 1

All required physical education classes are aligned with the Hawaii Content and Performance Standards for physical education.

The goal of the Physical Education program is to empower learners to actualize a vision of themselves as competent movers with the skills and knowledge and desire to become lifelong participants in physical activities. The four content standards for Physical Education are:

  • Movement Forms: Use motor skills and movement patterns to perform a variety of physical activities
  • Cognitive Concepts: Understand movement concepts, principles, strategies, and tactics as they apply to the learning and performance of physical activities
  • Active Lifestyle: Participate regularly in physical activity
  • Physical Fitness: Know ways to achieve and maintain a health-enhancing level of physical fitness

The Physical Education experience, in general, will include the fostering of acceptance of differences and the ability of each student to contribute to the physical activity setting by honoring the rules of the game and modeling appropriate behaviors. Teamwork and support will be stressed as students work toward individual, team and or group goals. A general emphasis will be placed upon guiding students to make a commitment to physical activity as an important part of one’s own lifestyle. Each school’s Physical Education department should engage in a process that results in a school plan that ensures that students will have the continued opportunity for participation in physical activity.

Physical education in elementary school
Structured around accepted guidelines of motor and movement form development for all children. Instruction ensures integrated, cumulative physical education in each grade level. Experiences are provided so that each child has an equal opportunity to meet all the content standards in each grade cluster (K-2 and 3-5). The emphasis is on developing the mature forms of locomotor, non-locomotor, and manipulative skills and the application of combinations of movement forms into a variety of basic games and physical activity settings. Students also learn about the basic benefits of physical activity and are encouraged to choose health-enhancing pursuits both inside and outside of the school setting.

Physical education in intermediate and middle school
The secondary Physical Education program is organized around course study by semester (middle schools also have quarter options). Middle schools (grades 6-8) offer courses that allow all students to meet the grades 6 to 8 cluster benchmarks. The intermediate or middle level Physical Education courses emphasize the application of a variety of movement forms (locomotor, non-locomotor, manipulatives) in a wide range of adapted and modified games and sport activities. Physical Education provides opportunities to apply combinations of movement forms starting at a basic level and working towards more complex and changing situations. By the end of the 8th grade, physical education students will have acquired many of the specialized skills required to participate in a variety of recreational, fitness, and sport activities. In addition, courses enable students to make the connections between physical activity and the many health-enhancing benefits of exercise. Students will develop a working knowledge of a variety of training and conditioning principles to choose activities and exercises that improve health-related fitness.

Physical education in high school
Emphasize the acquisition of skills required to participate competently in a variety of physical activities including physical fitness experiences and target, invasion, net, field, and aquatics activities. Courses enable students to use biomechanical concepts and scientific principles to analyze and improve the performance of self and others. Courses empower students to maintain and improve their own physical fitness, motor skills, and knowledge about physical activity, and help others achieve the same. As a result, students willingly participate in fitness activities, games, sports, dance, and other physical activities inside and outside of the school setting that contribute to the improvement or maintenance of health-related lifelong fitness. In the high school, the 1.0 credit Physical Education requirement for graduation may be met by a student’s successful completion of the 0.5 credit Required Course and a 0.5 credit Basic Elective Course.

Physical Activity Standard 2

Secondary school's physical education department provides support for participation in physical activity outside of physical education class.

We are fortunate to live in Hawaii, where temperate climes are experienced year-round. The Department enthusiastically supports students being active outside of school. Here are some resources to spark movement:

Physical Activity Standard 3

All students have at least 20 minutes a day of supervised recess, during which students are encouraged to participate in moderate to vigorous physical activity.

Physical activity during recess has many benefits: It helps them focus when they return to class, teaches them social lessons, and primes their bodies to digest calories at lunch.

  • Recess does not need to be a single 20-minute block. For example, a school may offer a 10-minute morning recess and a 10-minute afternoon recess.
  • Passing time between classes does not count towards the 20 minutes.
  • Students should be encouraged to participate, but they are not required to engage in, vigorous physical activity during recess.

Types of activities:

  • Dance Dance Revolution
  • Ultimate Frisbee Challenge
  • Intramurals (Volleyball, Basketball, etc)
  • Playground equipment and P.E. equipment available during recess

Physical Activity Standard 4

All required physical education classes have instructional periods totaling a minimum of 45 minutes per week for grades K-3, 55 minutes per week for grades 4-5, 107 minutes for elementary grade 6, and 200 minutes per week for secondary grades 6-12.

Physical Activity Standard 5

The school ensures that state-certified physical education instructors teach all physical education classes and have a student/teacher ratio similar to other classes.

State-certified physical education instructors and student teacher ratios are contingent on availability of certified physical education staff.

Physical Activity Standard 6

The school provides information to families to help them incorporate physical activity into students’ lives.

Please connect with your school's physical education teachers to learn how your child and family can be active.

Physical Activity Standard 7

The school discourages extended periods (i.e., periods of two or more hours) of inactivity.

This applies to normal day-to-day school operations, and not schoolwide assessment testing periods. The Department provides resources to educators to incorporate movement into classroom activities.

Physical Activity Standard 8

When mandatory schoolwide testing makes it necessary for students to be inactive for extended periods of time, schools will give students periodic breaks to stand and be moderately active unless the testing protocol specifies otherwise.

Physical Activity Standard 9

The school does not use physical activity as punishment.

Physical Activity Standard 10

The school does not withhold opportunities for physical activity as punishment.

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