Attend Gym to Enhance, not Escape, other Subjects
March 17, 2008 5:00 AM   Subscribe

Circuit relays, fulcrums and pulleys support not just exercise, but concepts in science and social studies, thanks to an innovative gym teacher.

With instruction this clever, I might have better enjoyed all three of those subjects when I was in school, instead of loathing them!

Her program was implemented with the help of a foundation award from her local school system.
posted by skyper (14 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Pretty sweet idea. I wonder if the science and social studies teachers feel their turf is being stepped on or that the children now hate their sit-down version even more. Of course, they could just add some stationary bikes and basketball hoops to their classrooms.
posted by DU at 5:42 AM on March 17, 2008

I've always wondered why gym classes usually teach sports and sometimes sex ed but almost never teach personal fitness.
posted by srboisvert at 6:18 AM on March 17, 2008

I think the foundation award link is borked.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:01 AM on March 17, 2008

Gym teacher Cindy Jones came up with the idea of combining physical activity with mental tasks when she took a class on using engineering in the classroom. Then she won a county MCD Award, giving her nearly $3,500 to make her ideas real.

This teacher wouldn't have had a chance to spend $3500 on some non-state-approved deviation in the lesson plan in the district where I vote. Not a chance.
posted by three blind mice at 7:42 AM on March 17, 2008

I got a letter form the president because of PE, he thinks it's awesome that I did some situps, pushups, pullups, V-stretch, and ran a mile. oh and some kind of eraser shuttle sprint.
posted by MNDZ at 8:26 AM on March 17, 2008

I would have been much more interested in knowing how much force I was applying than knowing the ex-president cared about my health.
posted by MNDZ at 8:28 AM on March 17, 2008

This is a million, billion times better than dodgeball.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 9:25 AM on March 17, 2008

Redirecting from borked link on the award, here.
posted by skyper at 9:30 AM on March 17, 2008

It’s funny how many teachers (back in the day when I taught kids) teach old-skool martial arts in the didactic style with just straight repetition, etc. Gym too. I myself like to run, but I get how doing straight PT can be boring. It’s obvious that people absorb physical information better when it’s coupled with goal achievement and the mind is occupied on task rather than just trying to ingrain a set of movements.
I think - apart from most martial artists knowing nothing about teaching - many teachers aren’t afforded the latitude to develop this kind of breadth in their lessons, most particularly in gym. And that’s a shame.
I’d also like to see gym integrated with health and lunch so kids get the relationship between eating nutrituous food and how well their bodies perform.
But y’know, only so much time in the day and there are arbitrary rules lawyer standards set by non-educators to meet.
(Disclaimer: IANA school teacher, but I’ve had some great ones in and out of school and I respect the profession and the skill. planning lessons is damn hard just from the little I’ve done for training)
posted by Smedleyman at 9:42 AM on March 17, 2008

Teachers like this are worth their weight in gold. It's funny; if you said to a company, "I am a consultant who can spend a few months working with several dozen of your employees, and after this they will be self-motivated learners, considerably brighter, as well as a great deal more productive and innovative. What would you pay for this service?" The answer would be "assloads of cash", with a working budget something north of "$3,500".

Considering how much ineffective consultants can earn in the corporate world, someone who can have the kind of impact this teacher is having- both in actual learning and physical health, and in the lifelong impact of these kids becoming more thoughtful people- would be raking in the dough.

But America doesn't really value quality education even as much as empty lip service and tax cuts, so... c'est la vie.
posted by hincandenza at 11:19 AM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

If my gym classes had been more like Sasuke when I was a kid, I'd probably be in better shape now.
posted by Eideteker at 11:22 AM on March 17, 2008

If my gym teacher was as adoring as that narrator when I was a kid...
posted by anthill at 11:52 AM on March 17, 2008

I teach figure skating and I use math and physics concepts all the time. Furthermore, the kids really get it, and they love that understanding science helps them skate and that skating helps them understand science. (A favorite quote from one student to antoher: "Go ahead, lean over! Science will hold you up!") Great post. Thanks.
posted by nax at 6:10 PM on March 17, 2008

With instruction this clever, I might have better enjoyed all three of those subjects when I was in school, instead of loathing them!

Funny, I felt the opposite way about physics and gym
posted by jpdoane at 10:57 AM on March 18, 2008

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