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  • Tired muscles? is a ready-to-use cross-curricular teaching resource. It uses the Ministry of Education’s 2015 Connected article ‘Why do our muscles get tired?’ by Zoe Armstrong and Dave Armstrong.

    Rights: Crown 2015

    Connected article: Why do our muscles get tired?

    An article in the 2015 level 2 Connected journal Have You checked?, published by the Ministry of Education, New Zealand

    Photo by Simon Wakefield.

    The Connected article is accompanied by an audio narration, which may be useful for some readers.

    Curriculum information

    ‘Why do our muscles get tired?’ is a non-fiction article suitable for students working at NZC level 2 and above. The article and accompanying activities support learning in multiple curriculum areas.


    • Use personal experience and knowledge to make meaning from the text.
    • Use visual language features to create meaning.

    Science – Living World:

    • Living things have certain requirements so they can stay alive.

    Nature of Science and science capabilities:

    • Gathering and interpreting data.
    • Critiquing evidence.

    Mathematics and statistics:

    • Conducting an investigation using the statistical enquiry cycle.
    • Communicating findings based on data.

    Health and physical education:

    • Experience creative and enjoyable physical activity.
    • Practise movement skills.

    Customising the resource

    Scan through the Student worksheet: Tired muscles? – learning activities below. The worksheet is also available in a Word file here and in the link at the bottom of this page.

    Feel free to edit the Word document to meet the needs of your programme and your learners.

    A reminder – the journal article is accompanied by teacher support material (TSM). It provides instructional strategies, highlights key science ideas and has activity ideas.

    Student worksheet: Tired muscles? – learning activities

    These learning activities use the article ‘Why do our muscles get tired?’ by Zoe Armstrong and Dave Armstrong. You can read the article using Google slides or this pdf. You can also listen to an audio recording of the article.

    Before you read

    Look at the images in the story. Use them to help you answer these questions:

    1. Why do you think the article uses a mixture of photos and drawings?
    2. Which pages show images of people with tired muscles?
    3. Why do you think they are tired? What is your evidence?

    While you read

    Think about these questions

    1. What is muscle fatigue? Explain it using words from the article.
    2. What are three things we can do to beat muscle fatigue?
    3. Why does Oscar think his fingers are fit?
    4. Why does Moana think her fingers are fit?
    5. What is another hobby that might make someone’s fingers fit?
    6. What are three facts about Oscar and Moana’s investigation?
    Rights: The University of Waikato Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato

    Finger marathon using a clothes peg

    The action of opening and closing a clothes peg can be used to investigate muscle fatigue.

    After you read

    1. Create a fittest fingers investigation of your own.
    • Create a table like the one in the article.
    • Find a stopwatch (you can use most cell phones) and a clothes peg.
    • Challenge someone in your family to complete the investigation with you.
    • Record your results.
    • Discuss whether the results are reliable. (Use the information on slide 6 ‘What’s going on?’ to help with this discussion.)
    • Share your findings with the class.
    1. Look at the images in the article Meet some muscles. The muscles have tricky names to read but you can see where they are on your body. Why do you think scientists give specific names to different muscles?
    2. Create a new investigation using another set of your muscles – for example, star jumps, lifting a filled water bottle above your head, sit-ups or even opening and closing your mouth.
    • Create a table to record your results.
    • Make a graph of the results.
    • Repeat the investigation for 5 days. Record and graph the results. Try to explain why the results might have changed.
    1. Watch the video of the Samoan sasa (slide 10 of the Google slides).
    • Watch the video again and see if you can do some of the actions – these boys move fast!
    • Observe changes to your body. Is your body getting more blood and oxygen to your muscles? How do you know?
    1. Watch the video again, paying attention to the beat of the drumming. Create your own fast dance. Video it to share with friends or your class.
    2. Find words from the article in this word search.
    • Can you read each word out loud?
    • Do you know what each word means? Tick the words you already know once you’ve done the word search. Draw a circle around the words that are new to you.

    Write different sentences that use the words below –for example: When I exercise, my muscles feel wobbly. How many sentences can you write?

    Related content

    Meet some of the more than 630 muscles in your body in this article.

    The Hub’s Finger marathon activity also uses a clothes peg to explore muscle fatigue. It has extension ideas that include graphing, averages and further investigations regarding fitness and recovery times.

    Useful link

    The Connected journals can be ordered from the Down the Back of the Chair website. Access to these resources is restricted to Ministry-approved education providers. To find out if you are eligible for a login or if you have forgotten your login details, contact their customer services team on 0800 660 662 or email


    The Connected series is published annually by the Ministry of Education, New Zealand.

      Published 19 April 2020 Referencing Hub articles
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