Ice and Roller Skating Lesson Plan

Please note, this lesson plan was created by as a general guide and is not specific to any particular venue listed on our site.

Fun Facts

How are skaters able to jump from one skate, rotate their bodies three times, and land on their other skate, all while gliding on ice? How do skaters balance themselves on four-wheeled skates as they slide on oiled wood floors? The laws of physics rule the world of skating. Physics determines how a skater moves, how and when they stop, and even if they collide.


– Review relevant vocabulary and key terms: friction, torque, kinetic and potential energy, gravity, momentum, inertia.

– Call ahead and ask if the staff at the rink can provide demonstrations or give lessons, which can provide a visual representation of the vocabulary terms.


Students learn about the science and physics behind skating.



Ask: How does the design of the skate (number of blades or wheels, width and length of blades or wheels) affect a skater’s movement?

Describe how friction is used to start a stroke or movement and how it is used to stop movement while skating.

Observe all of a skater’s body parts while skating, not just the legs. What are the skater’s arms, torso, and head doing while skating?

Opinion: Which do you think is more difficult to do: begin skating/pushing off, turning or twirling, or stopping? Why?

Compare ice skating and rollerblading. How is the science behind how you make them move similar?

Challenge: Determine the kinetic energy of yourself while skating or that of another skater. Use the following formula: KE = 1/2mass * velocity²


Discuss the relationship and transition between the kinetic and potential energies when a skater is jumping.
Project: Create an experiment involving Newton’s First Law of Motion: Every body continues in its state of rest, or of uniform motion in a straight line, unless it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed upon it.
Research the different skating moves and their levels of difficulty. Try to gain an understanding of what makes them so difficult to do.
Social Impact: Accidents in roller skating rinks and ice rinks can cause serious injuries. Create a safety poster that explains these risks and how to avoid them. Be sure to include what you have learned about the physics of skating.