Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version

Fall 2021


Peters, J. 2021. Teaching Muscle Function and Physical Fitness: An Afterschool Program for Elementary Schools. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Julianna Peters 2021.


For this creative project, a nine-week club curriculum about muscle function and exercise was designed for upper elementary students (4th-6th grade), integrating science and physical education. This curriculum aims to introduce students to a basic understanding of muscle function and their body utilizing a scientific lens while also encouraging movement through the education of different muscle groups. It principally covers the three types of muscle with an emphasis on skeletal muscles. Students engage in experiments and activities focused on different aspects of muscle function and then do exercises focused on certain muscle groups. Additionally, it aims to be model of scientific education which prioritizes student involvement to cultivate interest and enthusiasm around the scientific field in elementary school. The club curriculum itself includes content and objectives as well as the materials that will be needed for the experiments of each lesson. There is no formal assessment of students learning, but through discussion students are asked to reflect on what they have learned in the activities. Additionally, the rationale discusses in depth the research and reasoning behind decisions made based on the curriculum designed. In order to create the curriculum, student involvement and input was considered in order to model the scientific process, in particular allowing students to influence experiments. This included inquiry-based learning, scaffolding, and the use of discussion through which research was utilized to best facilitate student learning and engagement. At the end of the curriculum, example materials are included to be utilized during different weeks.