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Name of Activity: Pedometer Trick or Treat

Purpose of Activity: I am not a proponent of giving out candy in physical education, but if you want to have a little fun while you learn, this is a great activity for Halloween. The purpose of this activity is for kids to learn that food contains calories and you can burn those calories through physical activity. I also want them to learn that calories are not easy to burn and the more calories we put in our bodies, the more we need to move.

Prerequisites: Correct placement of the pedometer, how to read it and how to get it to the calorie count mode.

Suggested Grade Level: 3-5

Materials Needed: One pedometer per student (could be done in pairs or small groups if you only have a small number of pedometers); various equipment for the kids to use (balls, ropes, hoops, etc.)

Description of Idea

Pass out the pedometers and review the proper placement. Program the student's weight into it, if the pedometer has that capacity. Students may weigh themselves on a scale at this time for accuracy, or they can estimate. If the pedometers don't allow entering weight, then just show the students how to get to the calorie count mode. If they don't count calories, don't fret, you can still do this activity. First, have the students set the pedometer to step mode and explain to them that their challenge is to get to 2000 steps (roughly one mile) and when they accomplish that, they can see the teacher for a piece of candy. Walking two laps initially is a good start, but then give them the option of other activites to complete their steps, ie., balls, ropes, hoops, etc. Once the students have achieved 2000 steps, they can receive ONE M&M candy. There are 4 calories in 1 M&M. If they eat their M&M they then have to work to burn it off before they can have another. If the pedometer doesn't have a calorie count mode you can use the step mode. It takes a 75 pound person roughly 220 steps to burn 1 calorie, so to burn one M&M they would need to go 880 steps, at which point they could get another M&M. This lesson could be used for other holidays as well, using jelly beans at Easter time, red and green M&Ms at Christmas, etc. Other treat options could be simple "healthy" snacks, such as grapes, crackers, cheese, etc.

Variations:

This activity could be used at other times of the year besides Halloween. Instead of a "Trick-or-Treat" theme where the students receive candy, pictures of food could be used with the number of calories written on the picture. Students will walk the number of steps it takes to "burn" those calories, then select another picture. This would give the students an idea of how many calories different foods have, and also give them an awareness of "healthy choices" for foods that are more nutritious.

Assessment Ideas:

Assess their pedometer placement.
Assess students understanding of the comparisons between amount and intensity of activity with the amount of calories burned. They can keep a log or a chart, recording the type of walking (intensity), the amount of steps, and the calories burned.

Adaptations for Students with Disabilities:

Children with disabilities can do this activity as well. You may need to place their pedometer on a different body part in order for them to get their steps or to burn their calories and you may need some adaptive equipment so that they can be active along with the other students.

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Submitted by Angie Hickman who teaches at Killearn Lakes Elementary School in Tallahassee, FL. Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 3/11/2004. Viewed 23296 times since 1/21/2004.

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Previous Comments:

Ali
Saturday, January 23, 2010

This is the reason 7 year olds end up with anorexia and other eating disorders. I understand that your intentions were to teach the students about caloric expenditure. However, this could easily communicate the wrong message....especially for children who are around the sensitive age range of adolescence.

Liz
Tuesday, October 27, 2009

THIS Activity was HUGE SUCCESS. I had the students watch a 6 minute Bill Nye Science guy video on nutrition and calories. passed out pedometers and set them. the kids exercised like crazy and had fun. Lots of red sweaty faces. I have a classroom and not a gym...so this was awesome in my small space. I think middle school kids might enjoy it as well.



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