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Using the Game Sense

approach in PDHPE

Amanda Wade
What is the Game Sense approach?
 The Game Sense approach is a teaching and learning strategy that utilises modified
games in order to teach the physical education content (Light, 2012; Light, Curry &
Mooney, 2014; SportAus, n.d.) outlined in the Personal Development, Health and
Physical Education (PDHPE) syllabus (NESA, 2018).
 This approach allows the learners to develop fundamental movement skills through
enjoyable and modified versions of a sport. Developing fundamental movement
skills is significant to the learner as they are the “building blocks” (NESA, 2018, p.
130) for movement and form the foundation for specific motor skills essential to a
range of sports (Light, 2012; NESA, 2018; NSW Government Health, 2018) and
physical activities.

Movement Skills
What is the Game Sense approach continued…
 There are four key categories of modified games that are divided according to
their common characteristics (Light et al, 2014) in the Game Sense approach.
These include:
- Invasion games, such as soccer, basketball, hockey
- Target games, such as lawn bowls, ten pin bowling, golf
- Net and wall games, such as badminton, tennis, volleyball
- Striking and field games, such as cricket, baseball, softball
(SportAus, n.d.)

 Through the Game Sense approach, each of these modified games offer a
range of fundamental movement skills to be learnt, enhanced and developed
by the learner (Light et al, 2014; NESA, 2018). With full participation in these
games, learners will develop an understanding of the strategies, rules, tactics
and skills (Light, 2012; Light et al, 2014; SportAus, n.d.) that are associated
with its respectful sport.
A Game Sense approach example

(SportAus, n.d.)

Bucket and hoop is a modified game of baseball which fits into the striking and fielding
category. This game “supports students to develop their fielding, throwing [and] striking
skills” (SportsAus, n.d.) which “requires accuracy and control” (SportsAus, n.d.). This
modified game, therefore, relies on the skills and knowledge of object manipulation,
coordination and reasoning(NESA, 2018) which are all essential elements in the PDHPE
The Game Sense approach teaching strategy
Lesson Introduction ●
Explain the lessons’ learning intentions

Warm-Up ●
Explain and demonstrate a cooperative play warm up game

Small, Initial Game Introduce the initial game

Discuss the different skills needed to play the game

Discussion/Set New Challenge Discuss current tactics

Discuss how we can we modify the game to make it simpler or more challenging

Further Develop Game ●

Implement the new challenges

Game Progression ●
Repeat the process (from discussion/set new challenge to game progression) 3-4 times

Warm Down ●
Explain and demonstrate an appropriate warm down game

Lesson Closure Class discussion

Reflect on the lesson, e.g. tactics, challenges, effects of modifying the game

(Curry, C., personal communication, March 11, 2020).

Why use the Game Sense approach?

Strength 1: Student-centred
The Game Sense approach is a student-centred approach. It is designed for students to be the facilitators of their learning and
construct meaning from their own learning experiences (Light, 2012; Light et al, 2014). In the Game Sense approach, the students
form an understanding of the physical education concepts through practical, social and interactive experiences (NESA, 2018). These
experiences are lead by the students and the teacher, in this type of approach, acts as guide rather than the controlled facilitator
of learning (Light et al, 2014). The teacher is solely responsible for structuring the opportunities (Light et al, 2014) for students
such as initiating team-based discussions and encouraging reflection of the techniques or strategies demonstrated. Student-centred
learning not only forms a greater understanding of the physical education concepts but, further, increases students motivation to
learn and adds a competitive element to their learning experiences (Light, 2012; Light et al, 2014).
Strength 2: Authentic learning environment and learning experiences
The Game Sense approach delivers the PDHPE content in an authentic learning environment. With all students physically involved in
the modified games the skills, strategies, rules and tactics (Light, 2012; Light et al, 2014; SportAus, n.d.) students learn are
“relevant and meaningful” (Light et al, 2014, p. 77) to the sports they are derived from. This means that students are able to
connect and utilise these learnt skills and apply them to real-world contexts rather than learning these skills as single, isolated
movements (Light, 2012).
Authentic learning experiences are embedded into the Game Sense approach through the variety of modified games. These learning
experiences are built by students interacting with their peers and operating in a team-based environment (Light et al, 2014; NESA,
2018; SportAus, n.d.). Students, therefore, develop communication, problem-solving and reasoning skills (NESA, 2018) through
these modified games which, in turn, creates positive, enjoyable and challenging learning experiences (Light, 2012).
Strength 3: Differentiation
The Game Sense approach caters to all abilities and skill levels. The modified games are designed to be easily adjusted to suit all
learners by making simple adjustments to either increase or decrease the level of challenge involved in the game (Light, 2012;
Light et al, 2014; SportAus, n.d.). Accommodating the varying abilities “maximises” the inclusion (SportAus, n.d.) of all students
who carry a range of different skill sets and creates a secure environment where students feel comfortable taking risks “without
fear of failure” (Light et al, 2014, p. 77).
Students are involved in a Students learn to have a Encourages students to live
range of physical activities greater appreciation a healthy and active
and demonstrate these in a towards sports (NESA, lifestyle (NESA, 2018).
confident, competent and 2018).
creative manner (NESA,
2018, p.10).

Why is the Game Sense approach in PDHPE

(NESA, 2018)

Students have the

opportunity to “develop
and refine” their physical
skills and abilities which is
Students are “given the Students learn a broad
important for engaging in
opportunities to apply and range of Fundamental
movement and leading a
adapt their skills across Movement Skills that can be
healthy, safe and physically
multiple contexts” (NESA, applied to a range of sport
active life” (NESA, 2018,
2018, p.10). and physical activities
(NESA, 2018).
Reference List
 Light, R. (2012). Game sense: Pedagogy for performance, participation and
enjoyment. Taylor & Francis Group. https://
 Light, R., Curry, C., & Mooney, A. (2014). Game Sense as a model for delivering
quality teaching in physical education. Asia-Pacific Journal of Health, Sport
and Physical Education, 5(1), 67-81. https://
 NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA). (2018). Personal Development,
Health and Physical Education K-10 Syllabus. https://
 NSW Government Health. (2018). Fundamental movement skills (FMS).
 SportAus. (n.d.). How to use the cards. https://
 SportAus. (n.d.). Game sense approach. https://