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Teacher: Katie Mulloy who teaches at in New Berlin, WI. Katie Mulloy can be contacted at

Name of Best Practice: Back to School Brain Boost Challenge

Rationale/Purpose of Event: To encourage students and their families to exercise and be active at home as well as promote how exercise benefits learning.

Suggested Grade Level: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

Materials Needed:
Brain Boost Challenge Sheet
Completion certificate
Various prizes which are optional

Back to School Brain Boost Challenge

Challenge your students or school to participate in a month's worth of back to school fitness activities at home. One of my struggles as a Physical Education teacher is how to bridge the gap from physical activity in physical education class to getting kids to be active at home with their families. For this Best Practice Idea, present your students with a monthly fitness challenge with built-in incentives (small prizes/fitness charms) to encourage student participation throughout the whole month. Students get excited to exercise outside of school, parents can make it a family activity, and the exercises are easy to do at home for all fitness levels. Not to mention, this challenge helps students to understand some of the benefits exercise can have on the brain!


Plug in different exercises or physical activities from month to month to create new challenges and themes that fit the needs/wants of your physical education program and goals. The options are endless with this kind of fitness challenge set-up.

Teaching Suggestions/Tips:

Communicating the rules/expectations of the challenge to students and families is key to its success. I suggest starting with exercises or activities that your students participate in during physical education class so they know how to perform the activities correctly and safely. Also, provide a "how to" exercise resource for families so they can help lead their children and perform the exercises along with their student. For example, post the directions to your school web site, email parents to inform them of the challenge, and explain in detail to your students showing passion and excitement. Most of all, make it achievable for all students.

Adaptations for Students with Disabilities:

Fitness challenge exercises can be adapted for any and all students with disabilities to participate. Just change the exercises to suit a studentís specific needs and they can participate as able.

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Posted on PEC: 8/17/2017 and has received 8 votes.

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