By Sue Loubser, Director of Technology at Greenfield Hebrew Academy
This year at the Greenfield Hebrew Academy middle school in Atlanta, Georgia, we are taking on a very exciting project. We have 126 middle school students and 25 teachers wearing Zamzee meters all year as part of a school-wide project to jumpstart physical activity. We’ll be incorporating the data we collect from our Zamzees into our school curriculum to teach statistics, the Scientific Method and to even discuss contemporary applications of Jewish teachings. We call this project “A Million Minutes of Activity.”
The idea for A Million Minutes of Activity began brewing in my head last year. At the 2011 ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) conference, Dr. John Medina gave the keynote address called “Brain Rules for Education.” One of the things that he said – which stuck with me – was that exercise improves executive function in students, and can help students increase test scores. It needs to be cardiovascular exercise – and the effects can last into adulthood. In fact, this is Dr. John Medina’s “Brain Rule #1.” He lamented the fact that schools cut down on P.E. even though the benefits of exercise is proven.
Then, in November last year, I went to a presentation by Barry Joseph from Global Kids, who talked about badging systems. He whipped a Zamzee from his pocket as an example of a site that was both cool – and used badging to recognize milestones – and explained that he and his son were exercising together and that he was being motivated by the meter! I put two and two together and came up with the idea for “A Million Minutes of Activity.”
Our project is a cross curriculum Middle School project. Our primary goal is realistic – together we will try to be active for one million minutes. We believe having a common goal will help unite our students and will increase school spirit. Continue reading