The inclusion of Inuit Games in our Physical Education program began four years ago with the simple idea of introducing students to some less conventional sports and helping them connect physical activity to community and culture. Our goal was to design a unit that would coincide with our school’s Peace Festival; a two week long celebration of peace, understanding and community. This Inuit Games Video Podcast discovered online provided an excellent starting point with our classes as we worked through some of the more basic events as a group.
As it has evolved throughout the years, our Inuit Games unit has increasingly encouraged students to develop an appreciation for different ways in which aspects of physical fitness can be practiced and tested. It has also provided us with an important opportunity to draw connections between physical activity and the humanities as students are able to recognize and identify cultural influences on sport. Perhaps one of the most valuable outcomes this term however, has been the acknowledgement that many of the Inuit Games activities are “impossible to beat.” Students are generally up against themselves in games designed to test individual perseverance and endurance. The Inuit Games effectively personalize physical challenges, differentiating and scaffolding automatically based on student effort and comfort level. This year, the Inuit Games unit lead to some incredibly thoughtful conversations about how specific activities support the development of an intrinsically motivated athlete mentality. Students recognized that when competing agains themselves they generally experienced feelings of success and personal accomplishment more often than in environments in which they were battling peer. They also commented that the way Inuit Games were set up, they more readily engaged with the goal of beating their own record rather than someone else’s.
In particular, our Inuit Games unit has emphasized the following broad range of curricular outcomes for Alberta Physical Education:
- Acknowledge individual attributes that contribute to physical activity (Functional Fitness)
- Describe positive benefits gained from physical activity/l physically, emotionally, socially (Well-being)
- Demonstrate basic skills in a variety of games and more challenging strategies and tactics (Games)
- Improve and refine functional quality of skills in a variety of activities with increased control (Locomotor and Non-locomotor skills)
I’ve included an overview of the activities we included as part of our unit this term, as well as a mini-edit showcasing students from Grade 4 – 9 working through the different events! Would welcome any feedback or questions!