Review by Jenny Bristol, Common Sense Education | Updated April 2018

Active Quest

Fun physical education lessons teach form, function, and teamwork

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • Health & Wellness

Skills
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Character & SEL
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
K–5
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Pros: Clear outcomes and instructional videos, fun gamified quests, and immediate assessments all keep the learning (and the kids) moving.

Cons: Teachers must either have screen or tablet technology in their gym space, or show students instructional videos ahead of time in the classroom.

Bottom Line: Students will gain confidence in their physical abilities, develop movement skills, and practice interpersonal skills while completing quests with classmates.

Improve the health of your students with this easy-to-implement PE program for K-5. Teachers can access the teacher version of the website for free and maintain a class roster with individual student assessment records, including assessments for behavioral, physical, and cognitive scores for each gross motor skill. Teachers can either educate themselves with the instructional videos and then teach their students, or have students watch the instructional videos first, and then implement the exercises. The FAQ includes suggestions on how to use Active Quest with different kinds of digital device scenarios in your school or classroom. The program can be accessed on the Active Quest website or through the iOS or Android app.

Familiarize yourself with the outcomes for each activity, and begin with the practice exercises. Once you have assessed that students have mastered the body movements required, play through the quest and then perform the final assessment. Students can complete quests to unlock more activities. Single quest levels should take about 60 minutes or more to complete -- including the warm-up, skill training, and quest activity -- so classes with instructional periods shorter than an hour will need to split up each quest. Modifications and variations of the activities are also provided. If more functionality is required, such as peer-to-peer coaching or self-assessment, student and administrator versions are available, along with division licenses. The site states that curriculum connections guides will be coming soon.

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Active Quest provides a year's worth of physical education (PE) lessons for K-5. Gross motor skills include Run, Kick, Throw, Catch, and Jump, with Balance, Coordination, and Roll coming soon. Each skill includes three quests. Classes will need internet access, mobile devices or a projector, a safe indoor activity space, and sporting equipment such as balls, cones, masking tape, hula hoops, and other small, colorful objects.

The activities are broken up into two main categories: Practice and Play. In Practice, there are clear objectives followed by warm-up exercises and written instructions on how to perform the movements, along with variations and modifications to use if necessary. A video shows a virtual athlete demonstrating the movement, and gives coaching cues for teachers to help their students and for students to check their own technique. After students practice, teachers perform a quick assessment to ensure each student is practicing the movements correctly.

In Play, classes take on quests, which are lesson plans that use the particular gross motor skill in a larger game setting. Again, clear objectives, warm-up exercises, and instructions, modifications, and variations are given, along with a setup diagram (if needed) for the quest. A video explains how to play the game, which often includes students working together in teams. Teachers once again quickly assess their students during the quest, this time adding a behavioral assessment. An example of a Jump quest has astronauts collecting colored bean bags while aliens attempt to tag the astronauts, turning them into aliens.

Active Quest was developed to cover physical education curricula across Canada and the SHAPE America curriculum in the United States. It focuses on developing fundamental movement skills and begins teaching students how to apply those skills to larger activities. By focusing on basic skills instead of jumping right into more complicated sporting activities, students will gain the confidence in their physical activities that will be necessary for higher levels of PE later.

The included quests also serve to build teamwork and interpersonal skills, since students must work together to reach goals, communicate during the activities, and play fairly. This kind of digital teaching tool may not be easy to integrate into all PE classes, since some schools don't have computer technology in the gym area, and trying out the exercises in the classroom may not be feasible. But as more schools gain the needed technology, they can use Active Quest's clear expectations to allow students to practice gross motor skills in a fun and goal-oriented way. 

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Gamified lessons and goals, along with cute animations and ongoing assessments, keep students entertained while they practice correct athletic form.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

The quests establish clear goals while students practice specific body movements, form, and teamwork skills. Basic movements are then practiced in the context of a larger game.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Clear instructions show students and teachers how to perform physical challenges and take on quests, as well as assess student success. Some schools may struggle to provide the technology necessary for the resource, however.


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