For the past five years, Stony Point North Elementary School has created an exciting, activity centered around improving the physical fitness level of our students and adults in our school district called the “Race Across America"!
This activity focuses primarily on our 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students but we have also included the teachers and staff members from Stony Point North and we also included adults from our entire school district participating with us in our physical fitness walking/running activity.
Our Superintendent of our KCK school district, the Assistant Superintendent, school board members, district executive directors, teachers from around our district, as well at the Mayor of our city in Kansas City, Kansas have all continued to particpate with us in this fun, friendly, and competitive activity.
The “Race Across America” takes place over five months of our school year for each of the past five years. This event has been a great activity that encourages wellness and physical fitness for both students and staff.
Our students receive pedometers for the school year to wear everyday, all day. Not only are they monitoring their daily physical activity levels at school, but they are also tracking the amount of daily physical activities away from school, for each afternoon, evening, as well as on the weekends. Students then report the miles from their pedometers in their PE classes where totals are kept on spreadsheets.
Our goal for our students has been to monitor our increase in daily physical activity through the use of pedometers to assist promoting great health and wellness and also to fight childhood obesity.
Physical Activity and Academic Achievement
Studies have shown that "Students who are physically active tend to have better grades, school attendance, cognitive performance (e.g., memory), and classroom behaviors (e.g., on-task behavior)"
These studies also show that students have "Higher physical activity and physical fitness levels are associated with improved cognitive performance (e.g., concentration, memory) among students."
The goals for our teachers and staff are to assist our focus on improving our overall wellness, increase our energy levels, and help in monitoring weight gain.
For our “Race Across America” we have continued to have had many teams participating all at the same time!
Teams consisted of:
1. Grade level teams diivided by their classrooms.
Three 3rd grade Teams, Three 4th Grade Teams, and Three 5th grade teams.
2. Two Teacher and Staff Teams from Stony Point North. Our principal, teachers, paras, custiodian, office staff, paras, and cafteteria staff were all divided into our two staff teams. 3. Two KCK District teams. We had our KCK District Superintendent, Executive Directors, School Board members and staff from Central Office all divided into two teams. 4. We also had the Mayor of KCK and a Kansas State Representaive participate with us on our two District teams.
The involvement of all the adults, the Superintendent, and Mayor of the KCK provided additional significance and motivation for our students at Stony Point North.
All participants will wear pedometers or fitness trackers and focus on their physical fitness each day by being aware of their walking / running / physical activity totals.
It is a goal of all students and staff members to strive to walk at least 10,000 steps a day which converts to 5 miles a day!
Participants from our district office are always welcome to visit Stony Point North but they do not have to come to our school to walk with us. Walking, running, and working out can be done wherever participants choose and then their miles are emailed to our “Team Recorders”.
Twice a month, all participants reported their total miles walked (not steps) to their “Team Recorder”. After miles have been reported, the progress of each team was tracked on a large map of the United States on a hall bulletin board at Stony Point North.
We will identify each team’s progress by moving their “Team Flag” across our course on the map. For the students, we post the TOP Student miles on the bulletin board as recognition for students and also for motivating other students to have their progress highlighted.
For the adults, we also emailed the “Current Team Standings” throughout each race and also list our “Top Individual Walkers” (participants in the "400 Mile Club", the "300 Mile Club" “200 Mile Club”, etc.)
Studies have shown that an exercise program for people of any age that includes a walking or running component can improve wellness levels and reduce the risk for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke and also result in weight loss. This has also been an excellent activity that can prevent the trend of childhood obesity for our students.
The "Race Across America" has been a very successful activity in motivating our students to participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day!