Subject: Motor Development

Scientific Area:

Sport Sciences


80 Hours

Number of ECTS:




Overall objectives:

0 - The main objective of the course is to provide students with theoretical, practical and laboratory skills that allow them to describe and explain the observable changes in motor behaviour throughout childhood and adolescence. At the end of the semester, students should be able to:
1 - Dominate the concepts of growth, maturation, fitness and physical activity
2 - Use the protocols in the assessment of growth, physique, body composition, fitness and physical activity
3 - Describe the theoretical perspectives used in the study of Motor Development
4 - Analyse the postnatal growth curves for the growth indicators
5 - Describe the methods used in the assessment of skeletal, sexual, somatic and dental maturity
6 - Provide a description of the key characteristics of development of fundamental motor skills
7 - Analyse the age- and sex-specific variation in strength and motor performance
8 - Describe growth spurts in strength and performance


1 - Historical perspective
2 - Assessment of body size (concept; anthropometry equipment; techniques for measuring body size; ratios and proportions; morphological profiles; technical error of measurement)
3 - Assessment of physique (methods; graphical representation; data analysis)
4 - Body composition (models; methods; advantages and limitations; estimation of body density, percent fat, fat mass and fat-free mass)
5 - Physical fitness (test batteries; physical fitness profiles)
6 - Physical activity (dimensions; methods, techniques and equipment)
7 - Motor Development (fundamental concepts; domains; models and theoretical perspectives; periods of human development; research in Motor Development)
8 - Biological maturation (skeletal, sexual, somatic and dental)
9 - Reflexes and spontaneous movements
10 - Description and characteristics of development of independent walking pattern
11 - Development of fundamental motor skills
12 - Strength and motor performance from childhood to adolescence


Gabbard, C. , 2018 , Lifelong Motor Development , Wolters Kluwer
Haywood, K., N. Getchell , 2014 , Life Span Motor Development , Human Kinetics
Freitas, D.; Maia, J., Beunen, G., Lefevre, J., Claessens, A., Marques, A., Rodrigues, A., Silva, C., Crespo, M. , 2002 , Crescimento somático, maturação biológica, aptidão física, actividade física e estatuto sócioeconómi , Edição da Universidade da Madeira. Funchal
Haywood, K., N. Getchell , 2005 , Life Span Motor Development ?CD-ROM , Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics
Malina, R., Bouchard, C., Bar-Or, O. , 2004 , Growth, Maturation, and Physical Activity. Human Kinetics Books , Champaign, Illinois
Tanner, J. , 1990 , oetus into Man ? Physical Growth from Conception to Maturity , Cambridge: Harvard University Press
Maia, J., Fernandes, F., Freitas, D. (Eds.). , 2013 , Crescer com saúde na Região Autónoma da Madeira , Universidade da Madeira e Universidade do Porto.

Assesssment methods and criteria:

Classification Type: Quantitativa (0-20)

Evaluation Methodology:
1. Theoretical, theoretical-practical and laboratory teaching 2. Slides, video-images and exemplification are used to better clarify the theoretical items and to draw developmental sequences 3. The regular presence of the students in the classes and an active participation in the form of individual/small groups discussion are stimulated 4. Readings and preparation of the specific items of the syllabus are strongly suggested before the class 5. The level of knowledge of the students is evaluated through two written tests (75%) and an individual report of the laboratory activities (25%). 6. A bonus of 10% can be awarded by the student according to the following factors: punctuality, participation in the class, evidence of readings and preparation, sharing of ideas with the Professor and colleagues, and critical evaluation of the suggested readings