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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Using Technology to Teach Health and Wellness

Mary Beth Hertz

K-8 Technology Teacher in Philadelphia, PA

We often see applications of digital technologies in the core subject areas like literacy, math, science and social studies, but how can digital technologies be applied in other areas? Since the days are getting warmer and swimsuit season is upon us, I figured that I'd share some resources for teaching health and wellness in the classroom.

Websites

Sugar Stacks

This site provides images of everyday food items with the grams of sugar contained in each one represented as a stack of sugar cubes. This is great way to talk about sugar consumption with your students since it makes the word "grams" tangible for them.

BAM (Body and Mind)

A very kid-friendly website run by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, this one covers everything from nutrition to physical activity to both physical and mental well being.

Running Map

Any track or running team or even physical education class can plan and map their runs through this site. Create a running route ahead of time, and it will also tell you your mileage.

Games

FatWorld

This free video game teaches the politics of nutrition. According to the website, "The game's goal is not to tell people what to eat or how to exercise, but to demonstrate the complex, interwoven relationships between nutrition and factors like budgets, the physical world, subsidies and regulations." While too complex for the younger grades, this could easily be integrated into an upper elementary/middle school social studies unit.

AdDecoder

This free online game teaches students to be more savvy about marketing ploys in the media. Students flip through magazine pages and learn about the advertising messages hidden inside.

Apps

Zombies, Run Game

This app is mostly for upper elementary/middle school students, but it looks like lots of fun. (If I had time to run at all anymore, I'd use it!) Turn your run into a zombie adventure! While you are running, you are on a post-apocalyptic zombie-avoiding mission. You hear directions and even the sounds of zombies through your headphones.

Pedometer

Keep track of how many steps you take throughout a workout or the day. This could be used to help students meet activity goals (I will take ___ steps today), or you could combine it with a math lesson to graph data collected during a walk in the schoolyard (How many inches is Bobby's stride if he took 32 steps to walk 10 yards?).

Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker

Have students keep track of how many calories they eat in a day or a week. This could be incorporated into a math or health unit. There is even a way to track physical exercise and compare your stats with friends.

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Comments (6)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Mary Madsen's picture
Mary Madsen
Marketing & Media at Bellevue University

Great resources Mary Beth. It's funny how technology can be such a health deterrent when there are so many perfectly wonderful applications available to assist in healthier living.

Mary Beth Hertz's picture
Mary Beth Hertz
K-8 Technology Teacher in Philadelphia, PA
Blogger

I guess the important thing is moderation! Technology does sometimes feel like a double-edged sword.

Kelsey's picture

Mary Beth, Thank you for the resources! It is often hard to find digital technology that can be used in Health and Physical Education. Yes, it is often stressed in Physical Education and Health to use technology in moderation but technology is still a great resource to have. These sites will be very useful in encouraging some students to learn and be more involved in their own health and physical activity. Sometimes we have to connect with the student in whatever means possibly to encourage them or guide them in the right direction.

Jason Kearney - 552146's picture

I thought this was great, and even found myself playing with the Running Map immediately. Thinking of technology many think right to how kids just play video games all day and play on tablets but there are so many technologies out there to help with fitness ( go figure)! Another thing along with your pedometer would be the heart rate monitor which is a very useful tool for anyone.

Alex Roberts's picture
Alex Roberts
Cyber Security

One thing you've got to fight on every level I think in education, is the tendency children have of rejecting anything you pose to them. Especially if it seems in any way uncool or unpleasant. We must inspire, without dictating.

Doug Betts wrote an article that seems applicable: https://www.cfscamp.com/blog/2013/apr/succeed-on-your-terms/

If we taught more of the theory of handling difficult circumstances better, in general, I think it would help our students not only manage their health better, but their over-all lives.

And that'd be the best reward ever.

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