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Note: This lesson, published in March 2010, is an updated, edited version of the lesson entitled "A family affair: Children's participation in sports", which appeared in the Autumn 2000 edition of Canadian Social Trends.
Article: Kid's sports
- To determine the importance that participating in organized sport has for students.
- To examine the influence of family and community environment on athletic activities.
- Ask students to read the article "Kid's sports", published in 2008 in Canadian Social Trends and briefly summarize the findings. Or you can use the shorter article from The Daily.
- Ask how many students, when they were aged 5 to 14, had parents who were involved in sports. Was the parent involved as an athlete or as a volunteer? In what "direction" did this involvement flow; that is, did the student start to take part in sports because one of their parents was an active athlete, or did their parents become involved because the student had already joined a team?
- Many factors can influence the sports children play, such as parents' attitudes or household income. A suburb with lots of land presents much different sports options than a downtown neighbourhood. List other factors that may affect sports participation.
- Ask students what sports they play and list the most popular ones. Estimate the time commitment for participating (include practices, travelling, the length of the season and so on). What other activities are sacrificed (e.g. part-time job, involvement in school clubs) in order to play sports?
- The percentage of children participating in organized sport declined between 1992 and 2005 and the decline was larger for boys. Discuss some possible reasons for this. Could it be that non-team activities (like karate or bicycling) are now more popular, or are children becoming less physically active? How does this relate to the finding that children's fitness levels are declining? (See Canadian Health Measures Survey)
- How do you measure physical fitness? Ask the class to research several different types of tests for physical fitness. Ask them to develop a test of their own, preferably using simple methods.