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Online Projects Draw Kids to Fitness


Curriculum Center

Through online projects sponsored by Co-nect, students can design an athlete or compare their activity levels with those of other students. Included: Links to join the two exercise-related, collaborative projects.

Students can learn about fitness and the Internet through two online collaborative projects sponsored by Co-nect.

Both are open to students in kindergarten through grade 12. Classes can join Create an Athlete WebQuest and submit their athletes through May 2. Teachers can submit Co-nexercise data until May 4, according to Stefanie Hausman of Co-nect. Co-nect provides technology consulting services to school systems. Although schools pay for Co-nect's consulting services, teachers can join the projects free of charge.

In the Co-nexercise project, students track their level of exercise and the activities in which they participate between April 25 and May 2. Then they compute the class average and compare it with the averages of other participating classes. The ten classes with the highest average minutes of exercise earn prizes. Participating teachers also receive a booklet with forms that students use to record their activities and the amount of time they spend on them. At the end of the project, Con-nect will post charts and graphs on the Web site, showing how many students are exercising.

By late March, about 100 teachers had signed up, says Hausman, a former teacher who now helps schools around the country develop online projects.

Eric Lofstrom, a physical education teacher at Emerald Park Elementary School in Kent, Washington, says Co-nexercise is straightforward and has a lot to teach students. Emerald Park students in first through sixth grades are scheduled to participate.

"It shows that students can make a big impact," by exercising regularly, Lofstrom tells Education World. "And it shows them that kids around the United States exercise."

The week before participation in Co-nexercise, Lofstrom says, he plans to discuss lifetime exercise activities with his students and the types of exercises they can start doing now. "I tell them exercise is not just sit-ups, pull-ups, and running ... this plants ideas about physical fitness."

For the Create an Athlete WebQuest, students develop an athlete to compete against other student-created athletes. Students read biographical information about professional athletes and decide on their athlete's sport. Then they determine the focus of the athlete's training, such as developing strength, endurance, and speed. After further research, the students set up a regimen to help their athlete meet those goals. Participants also have to read about nutrition and establish a diet for their athlete, as well as determine the athlete's societal contributions and sportsmanship qualities.