Choose language:


Section 2: Warm ups and Topic Links

Why should teachers use Topic Links

  • While you have the Students focused and energised you can introduce elements of the topic into the activity.
  • This makes warm ups an integrated part of the learning experience, not a standalone acitivity.
  • Its consolidates learning using Mind/Body connections.

Stop/ Start/ Jump/ Name

Starting Position : Ask the group to move around the space = Start!

Instruct them to keep changing direction. Then direct them to Stop! Repeat the Start/Stop sequence in intervals. Then introduce (once all have stopped) a Jump! into the sequence. Students jump on the spot once. Repeat the sequence calling out to the group to Start/Stop/Jump. Add Name! allowing the participants to shout their own name confidently. Continue to call Start/Stop/Jump/Name randomly.

Opposites: To further encourage the fun element and challenge the group, make the instructions mean the opposite.
Start = Stop and Stop = Start.
Once established add Jump = Name and Name = Jump.
Continue to play the game rapidly until the facilitator brings it to a natural end.

Progression: Either then or in the future, further instructions can be added e.g. Fast/ slow, Big steps/ Small steps, High/ Low etc.

Adaptation: Keywords from the lesson can be used and the students can physicalize them in the space e.g. water, fire, gas, electricity, earth etc.

Ball Exercise

Starting Position:Group form a circle – Standing.

Note: Build the levels and variations of this game up gradually. Progression of the game can happen over time as the students become more confident.

  • The teacher has juggling balls and starts the game with throwing a ball (under arm) to a student saying their own name and the student’s e.g. “George to Katie”. Katie catches the ball and continues the game throwing to another student e.g. “Katie to Jasmine”.

  • Each student only sends and receives the ball once. (For the first round students can
    fold their arms after they send the ball so other students know who still needs to receive the ball. )
  • The last person to receive the ball will be the teacher.
  • Everyone needs to remember the order in which they threw/ received the ball. Check everyone is sure of the order after the first round.
  • Repeat the exact same ball-throwing sequence and ensure everyone is sure of the order and names.
  • As the group get more confident, the teacher can gradually start adding in new balls so there will be a few/ several being thrown at the same time.
  • It may get a bit more chaotic as more balls are introduced so stop and ask the group:
  • How do we improve the game? Possible/ good answers are:
    Eye contact is important! Don’t panic. Don’t throw the ball until your partner is ready. If the ball falls- no problem! Just pick it up and calmly carry on

Progression: Reverse!
When the teacher calls “Reverse!”, the throwing order is reversed i.e. students now throw the ball to the person they previously received it from and vice versa. The teacher can then call “Reverse!” again to return to the normal order. Reverse! can be called at intervals.

Names only
Students just say the name of the person they are throwing to i.e. no need to say “Katie to…”

No names

Students play the game silently- Eye contact and body language is very important here.

Move around the Space

The students move around the space, in different directions playing the same game with or without the variations above.

NB: Have a group discussion during or after the game about what the group is learning and experiencing during the game i.e. team work, focus, it’s ok to drop the ball/ make mistakes, communication skills, the importance of eye-contact etc. Also, reference knowing your part within a system – i.e. each student is constantly working with 2 other students to receive and send the balls. They are like small cogs or units which make the
larger machine or game work.

Adaptation: Key words from the class lesson can be used instead of students’ names as they throw the balls in the same sequence eg. Saturn, Pluto, Mars… Also, students can play the same sequence but change their topic words every time they throw the ball. (They will be influenced by words they hear others call out.)

After using lesson words, the teacher could choose to focus on certain words/themes or the students could go research a word alone or in groups.
Relate the “small cogs” mentioned above to the lesson – e.g. one cog might be the heart and is just one organ which is a working part of a bigger machine i.e. the body.

Another adaptation is a small group is chosen to play the game in the class. The rest of the class observe and listen to the small group playing the game and naming learning topic words.

Warm up Sports

One student does a mime of a sport. All students copy it at the same time immediately after. Each student does a sport mime and the group follows. e.g. playing tennis, basketball etc. This can also be done around the space.


Starting Position: Group circle – Standing.

Beginning with the teacher, send an energetic Zip! with palms together from student to student around the circle. Practice this a few times. Then practice Zap! in the other direction. Be definite about the moves eg. Zip = to the left, Zap =to the right. Students must make eye contact with the person they are sending the zip or zap to or receiving it from.

When they have they have mastered the Zip and Zap technique and directions, introduce Zoom!

Zoom! = Both arms and palms together, pointing at a person across the circle. A student can choose to Zoom! after a Zip! or Zap! A student can only Zip or Zap after receiving a Zoom!

Practice the 3 moves above and then introduce Boom!

Boom! = A Student raises arms up in the air and calls Boom! and all the students change places in the circle. Boom! can be sent after a Zip or Zap is received. The person who initiates the Boom! must continue the game with a Zip/ Zap after the new circle has been formed properly.

Progression: Playing “Knockout”- Student is eliminated if they delay in sending a move, if they zoom a zoom or send a move in the wrong direction. Continue until only 2 students remain.

Duel: The two remaining players stand back to back in the middle of the room. Each time the teacher calls out a fruit, the players take one step forward. When a vegetable is called out, both players must turn around and shoot/ throw their pie. The first to throw/ shoot is the winner! The other students will be the judges.

Adaptation: The game can be used to highlight topic learning such as current flow, energy being transmitted, reflexes etc.

Do you have questions?

Contact us

You can also email us directly: