The Warrior Challenge was a unit that was presented many, many years ago at the IAHPERD state convention which I had attended. I do not remember the name of the Physical Education teacher that presented this session, but I thought it was a great concept to teach a variety of fitness concepts, perseverance and grit on an individual level. Also, I viewed it as a flexible lesson/unit that any PE teacher could use based on the equipment available to them, type of facility, class size and grade levels taught. When I implemented this program, my school had very little equipment but it was very easy to put into place using different components of fitness.
How did I do this? It started as the Warrior Challenge, then Warrior Training and finally, because our school mascot was Wildcats, became the Wildcat Challenge. When I introduced this unit, I had the gym set up with all sorts of equipment, which for me was not very much, but was a different look to the gym compared to what my students were used to seeing. I started by building up the excitement by giving my students a “contract” that they had to sign. The contract mentions how difficult this challenge would be and how the students had to promise to not give up. After signing the contract, which I collected, I then handed out the sheet that listed all of the challenges. They were able to follow along with me as I explained or demonstrated the different challenges. During the explanation, you could hear the excitement in the students’ as they told their friends “Oh I can do that” or “That looks hard”. I gave the rest of that class period and the next day of class for my students to explore, practice and try different challenges. As students felt they were ready to be “tested” they could come to me and demonstrate. If they were successful, I would initial that challenge. This was a bit overwhelming the first year, so I went to students working in pairs and their partner “testing” them and initial the challenge if they were successful. I found that most of my students were harder on each other than I was. I taught at a middle school, and required my eighth grade students to complete 5 challenges, seventh graders had to complete 4 challenges and my sixth graders had to complete 3 challenges. For the overachievers that finished before other students, I challenged them to try some trainings they did not consider trying and asked them to help evaluate fellow students. I rotated this unit every three years so it was always new and fresh with my students. As I gathered new and different equipment, or thought of new ideas or gained suggestions from students, I could add to the list of challenges.