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Lesson Plan: 3 Energy Systems

Lesson Title: Introduction to Energy Systems

Grade Level: 11th-12th

Objective: Students will be able to understand the three energy systems used in the body and how they are used during different types of physical activity while addressing the following standards:

  • National Standards for K-12 Physical Education: Standard 1: The physically literate individual demonstrates competency in a variety of motor skills and movement patterns.

  • Next Generation Science Standards: HS-LS1-7: Use a model to illustrate that cellular respiration is a chemical process whereby the bonds of food molecules and oxygen molecules are broken and the bonds in new compounds are formed, resulting in a net transfer of energy.

  • Common Core State Standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.3: Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.



1. Introduction (10 minutes)

  • Ask the students what they know about energy systems in the body.

  • Explain that the body uses three different energy systems to produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the energy currency of the body.

  • Show a video or images of athletes performing different types of physical activity and ask students which energy system(s) they think are at play.

2. Lecture and Discussion (20 minutes)

  • Use the handouts from the Ultimate Energy Systems Bundle to go over the three energy systems used in the body: ATP-PC system, glycolytic system, and oxidative system.

  • Discuss the characteristics of each energy system, including how quickly they produce ATP, how long they can sustain ATP production, and what types of physical activity they are used for.

  • Talk about how these energy systems are used during different types of physical activity, such as endurance exercise vs. sprinting.

3. Activity (30 minutes)

  • Divide the class into small groups and assign each group a different type of physical activity (e.g. sprinting, long-distance running, weightlifting).

  • Have the students use the exercise equipment to perform their assigned activity for a set amount of time (e.g. 5 minutes).

  • Use the stopwatch to time the activity and record how many reps or distance was achieved.

  • After each group has completed their activity, have them discuss which energy system(s) they think were primarily used and why.

4. Conclusion (10 minutes)

  • Ask the students to reflect on what they have learned about energy systems and how it relates to physical activity and health.

  • Ask them to give an example of a real-life situation where an understanding of energy systems would be useful in promoting physical activity and preventing injury.

  • Wrap up the lesson by thanking the students for their participation and reminding them of the importance of energy systems in physical activity and health.


  • Observe students during the activity to assess their understanding of energy systems.

  • Have students write a short paragraph explaining which energy system(s) they think were primarily used during their assigned physical activity and why.

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