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First Place

9-12 | Health & Fitness | Real World Application or Field Study

Station KUHT in Texas

My Classroom Innovation

Students watched the video on the epidemic facing children today and the role of diet and exercise in developing healthy lifestyles. Following the video, students read the lessons provided by the.Medic to gain further understanding. I posed the question to students, “What steps can you take to eliminate childhood obesity in one generation?” to find their interest. Students collaborated and organized their plans using laptops and i-touches, as they researched and developed creative methods to problem solve and communicate their ideas. Students learning about nutrition created lessons to share nutrition information such as analyzing sugar in foods, reading food labels, learned about personal food pyramid daily requirements, and BMI's. Enhanced lessons with student products including fruit and veggie trading cards, nutrition games, and portion sizes engaged student learning. As I facilitated students working, we discussed limitless ideas as to what we could add to the lesson to make sure it was relevant to their "real world." Students learning about exercise utilized resources provided by PBS, internet, and brain-stormed ideas. Their enthusiasm and interest in their projects led them to create new games to play in class, activities to encourage others, and organizing before, after school and lunchtime opportunities to exercise. Students became more creative as they joined Let's Move! and Play 60 programs for further support. Students recorded daily fitness activities and food intake to show their progress. Actively, students created challenges for each class and entered Play 60 contests. Students gained confidence and became more enthusiastic as they were awarded winners in a contest creating an original healthy recipe and the President's PALA fitness challenge. Students continued to be inspired as they planted a garden, grilled healthy veggies and meals during class, and organized times to serve all students samples of different healthy foods to try during lunch.

How Students were Engaged

Students were actively engaged during the lessons; in fact, rather than a short lesson, we have incorporated these lessons for the entire semester as a result of the students’ request. Given a choice about learning strategies, students prefer to use their imagination, creative application, and develop ownership in their work if they are given choices. This lesson provided many choices for my students as they collaborated in interest groups to problem solve ways to combat childhood obesity. The goal for this lesson was for students to learn about the role of diet and exercise in combating obesity. Using PBL and 21st Century strategies students became effective problem solvers and gained ownership with creative lessons as they applied it to their real world. Students extended their research to enrich the basic information they found relevant to their projects. The more they researched, the more they wanted to know. An example of this is students learning about their own daily food requirements. They discovered that most teens are lacking the nutrients found in dairy, fruit, veggies, and whole grains. Applying their recently acquired knowledge to their lives, students researched particular fruits and veggies that contained the essential vitamins and minerals they need and created projects such as a portion size wheel to help them have a visual understanding. In addition, students learned ways to maintain 60 minutes of active play and created innovative games to teach in class. Students personalized their learning by creating wikis to share information, developing summer activity groups, and organizing team competitions. The nutrition and fitness challenges the students participated in during this lesson time, helped them to learn how to make good choices and do their personal best. Not only did we see improvement in making healthy choices, we also saw improvement in core subject classrooms.

PBS Program/Content Used

the.Medic "White House Campaign on Childhood Obesity"