Figures on Ice Activity by Harcourt Achieve Inc

Figures on Ice Activity

Read this selection about ice skating. Think about the meanings of the words in bold type.

Figure skating began in Holland when Dutch skaters realized that their skate blades left marks on the ice. The skaters then skated in circles and lines to create figures, or drawings, on the ice. Soon they were competing to show off their figures. The most precise and most beautiful drawings would win.

Today professional figure skaters perform figure eights as part of the compulsory, or required, competition. This includes specific jumps, spins, and other moves. In this part of the competition, skaters must demonstrate their ability in precision, or accuracy of specific details, in addition to discipline and skill. They also perform a freestyle program, which is their own choice of skating moves presented to music.

WORKSHEET & Sample PDF Activity

Sample PDF Activity

Figure skating includes solo skaters, pair-skating, and ice-dancing couples. Each type of skating has its own requirements for competition. Figure skaters, whether paired or solo, are judged on the basis of their technical performance, which is the accuracy of moves, strength, and skill. They are also judged on composition and style. Composition is the presentation of movements combined with the music. Style is the skater’s grace and ease in demonstrating the moves. Pair-skating couples are judged on their ability to skate together in spins, jumps, pivots, and spirals. The two partners often skate the same moves, but one is the reverse of the other. Ice dancing consists of dance steps and motions that accompany dance music. In competition, ice-dancing couples are judged for their artistic ability, which includes rhythm, composition, and style.

Figure skates are different from other skates. Professional skaters buy the boots and the blades separately. Skate boots are leather or vinyl and high-topped. Leather boots are flexible and fit better than other materials. Skate guards protect the blades. This is the only equipment a skater needs!

Being a professional requires a commitment to years of practice and training. Figure skaters and ice dancers give us a sport that is beautiful to watch and to enjoy in competition!

Great Skating Worksheet

Label the drawing by completing each sentence with the vocabulary words.

“We have just completed the ______ part of the program.”
Now skaters will demonstrate their personal ______.”

“These ice-dancing skaters will be judged for ______ ability.”
“We’ve seen some high marks on ______ performance today.”


  1. What are figures?
  2. Explain the meaning of precision.

Look for books about figure skating. Make a chart of the types of figure skating moves and the judging categories. Describe compulsory, technical, and artistic requirements.

Figures on Ice – Great Skating Answer Key


  1. drawings on the ice
  2. accuracy of specific details
  3. pair-skating
  4. precision or technical
  5. figures
  6. artistic
  7. solo
  8. style
  9. compulsory
  10. technical or precision

About Harcourt Achieve Inc.

Harcourt Achieve Inc.offers some of the best social studies curriculum educational Products with a primary focus on K-8 educational products. Available as Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Steck-Vaughn.

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