The Architect – Grades K-5 Warm Up PE Activity

makerspace PE activity

My name is Ryan Lucas, Pre-K – 5th grade physical education teacher at Bemus Point Elementary School in NY. Today I will be sharing an activity I created and titled “The Architect.” This activity provides a visual representation of what teamwork and collaboration look like. Students will see what happens when they work together and
recognize all ideas within a group. At the beginning of this activity we share the story that the students are architects creating a city. By the end, the teacher brings to light that “Building the City” was the task/problem presented to the students. The “building blocks” represented each other’s unique ideas, and the city, is the creative, complex, and unique solution that the students created. Download the printable version of this lesson here

The Architect PE Activity


Set Up:

For this activity you will need:

  1. A designated place for the building materials
  2. A designated place where the students are going to build the city (we called this area the City Limits)
  3. A designated pathway (highway) for the students to move around the outside of the city (the building blocks should be accessible from this pathway.)

For example, my gymnasium has volleyball court perimeter lines with a center circle. For this activity, For this activity, students were to travel along the perimeter lines and build inside the center circle. Building blocks were organized outside of the perimeter lines. Use the hula hoops to organize and separate the building blocks by color.

STEAM pe activity


You are going to lay out the storyline that the students have been hired by you (the Mayor to construct a new city! The rules for the students are as follows:

  1. You have approx. 15 seconds to add a building block to the city when it is your turn.
  2. There is No Fixing Anything, if something falls, no problem we will keep building on it or around it.
  3. You may not move any building blocks that have been placed there by others.

Remember that you can only ADD your building block to the city. Students have free choice to imagine what they would like their block to represent. For example, roads, building, bridges, etc.

To start the activity, everyone is to choose one building block to hold on to. When the music starts, have the students use locomotor movements to travel around the “Highway” (predetermined perimeter line). This should be a large lap, with the city in the center and always in sight of the students so they can see it take shape. Call the students in by color (of their blocks) to add to the city. Stop the music and the first group to freeze on the highway (building block color group) would be called into the middle to build. They will build until the music is turned back on (15-20 secs) in which case if the student still has their building block, they need to set it down quickly and return to the highway. Once they add their block to the city have the student return to the hula hoops to pick out another (1) building block to carry. Students can pick any color building block they wish. (Remember students must be on the highway in order to be eligible to build)

Once the city has been constructed have the students gather around to examine the outcome. **Just a reminder, it doesn’t matter here if the city looks messy due to fallen structures or if it looks pristine.

physed warmup activity

Questions to start a conversation:

  • Did I (the teacher) instruct you how to build you city?
  • Do you think your city looks the same as other classes?
  • Why not?
  • Did any structures fall over? If so, were you able to build upon them and create something new?


You were all a team of Architects building this city. The city was the task/problem that I gave you. You all came together to find a solution and build the city. Each of you brought your own ideas with you. I want you to look at the city now and instead of seeing building blocks, I want you to see individual ideas. See how they build on one another? See how they come together to form something great? See how some ideas fell down, but see how we needed those ideas to build the city? All ideas are important, whether they work or not, when we listen to all ideas within a group, it helps to form our solutions.

warm up pe activity

STEAM & Makerspace Connections:

Physical education fosters learning in so many unique ways. Physical education is where students can create, strategize, solve problems, invent, build and collaborate, all through movement. Essentially Physical Education is a Makerspace. STEM/STEAM also share common goals with physical education as we create 21st century problem solvers.

For more STEAM in physed ideas, visit our blog STEM & STEAM Activity Ideas for Physical Education.

pe teacher ryan lucasAuthor: 

Ryan Lucas, PreK- 5 Elementary Physical Education Teacher. Advocate for lifelong movement! Creator of the Elementary Physical Education YouTube Channel. Follow me on Twitter @MrLucasPE

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