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Teacher: Nathan Jyringi who teaches at Annie E. Fales Elementary in Westborough, MA. Nathan Jyringi can be contacted at jyringin@westborough.k12.ma.us.

Name of Best Practice: Animal Club Fitness Challenge

Rationale/Purpose of Event: To promote physical activity outside of school, individually and with family members.

Suggested Grade Level: K-5

Materials Needed: Shoe tokens (fitnessfinders.net), shoelaces (www.y-ties.com), or other rewards like animal stickers. Ability to print certificates and make posters.

Animal Club Fitness Challenge

Students receive an information sheet and mileage sheets on the first day of the Challenge. During approximately two months of time, students will record activity time, and convert it into miles on their mileage sheets. Sheets will be turned in to thier PE teacher, and students will earn their way into several different animal clubs, based on mileage.

For simplicity reasons, 20 minutes of physical activity (activity that raises your heart rate/"makes your heart beat fast") equals 1 mile traveled, and 1 hour of a team practice equals 1 mile traveled.

The clubs are based on how fast certain animals travel, with the theme, "Can you keep up with the world's fastest animals?" For example, a squirrel can travel 10 miles per hour, so students completing 10 miles of exercise (200 minutes) will enter the squirrel club. Of course, it is important to explain that these animals can travel this far in one hour, the studetns will take several months.

The clubs are as follows:

Squirrel Club: Student has completed at least 10 miles of exercise!
Elephant Club: Student has completed at least 20 miles of exercise!
Grizzly Bear Club: Student has completed 30 miles of exercise!
Coyote Club: Student has completed 40 miles of exercise!
Lion Club: Student has completed 50 miles of exercise!
Antelope Club: Student has completed 60 miles of exercise!
Cheetah Club: Student has completed 70 miles of exercise!
Falcon Club: Student has completed 100 or more miles of exercise!

A poster for each club is posted outside the gym or in the cafeteria. Pictures of the animals make the posters much more exciting. Students getting into a club write their name on the appropriate poster.

Rewards: Students earn one shoe token each time they enter a new club. Students completing 100 miles (Falcon Club) will earn a certificate stating they have completed the Animal Club Fitness Challenge.

Variations:

It is great when parents and other family members are involved. Offer the same rewards for family members.

Hold a ceremony at the end of the challenge where certificates are distributed.

Teaching Suggestions/Tips:

My mileage sheets have two options, students can either write the fitness activity they completed in a box, or color the box instead. The box is then dated and parents sign the sheet.

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Posted on PEC: 3/19/2006 and has received 538 votes.

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