New methods get everyone involved.
Physical Education teachers at Sierra Vista Jr. High are fed up. They came to an agreement that the routine instruction that has defined PE for decades is outdated and not inclusive.
So they’ve stepped up to the plate and delivered mind blowing new ideas, and backed them up with state of the art demonstrations of tomorrow’s technology. The new programs include everyone in a common goal: fitness.
Some of the equipment is already at the site, however for the real interesting stuff, they’re raising money this year.
Last year, they ran a fundraiser with the ASB that effectively raised $20,000 which they used to buy 21 pieces of equipment, computers, new flooring and a rock climbing wall.
The computers are used in the Fitness Lab, and students input the times and scores they receive on physical tests. The program has their information, and tracks them individually and as a group. This way, on a weekly basis students are putting in information that will show them and their parents what progress they’re making.
In the Fitness Center, the 21 pieces of equipment purchased are perfect for Jr. High students. Aside from traditional weight machines, there are Body Motion machines, which use a percentage of the student’s own body weight as the counter force.
With the Rock Climbing Wall, students get to have fun, and get a full body workout at the same time. The wall is a transverse unit, where students actually climb sideways instead of vertically. This system is not only capable of being a lot longer, but it can also handle more kids at once.
And that’s just the beginning.
The goal for this year is to raise $50,000 to get next generation training equipment.
“In New PE, cardio is everything,” says George Velarde, PE Teacher at Sierra Vista.
Velarde imagines a whole section of the fitness center with televisions and interactive workouts.
At one particular station, you will one day see a kid working on a Xavix system, which has a host of interactive games like tennis and baseball, or drills like a quick dash, all charted on a mat the students stand on. There is also a series of Jackie Chan sponsored workouts that show him running through Tokyo. As various obstacles come his way, the students control his movement by their movement on the pad, and therefore must jump, duck and move to avoid them.
Behind that student would be a Dance Dance Revolution pad set up, with its own TV sitting right above the first. Here, two students dance and try to match computer set challenges, all while working up a sweat.
Behind them, would be two more students on special stationary bikes equipped with TV screens. This is the V-Cycling system, and it takes riders through virtual journeys along the Tour De France and other real life locations. As the terrain changes, so does the settings on the bike.
In all, Velarde is shooting for a total of 16 TV screens, plus 16 bikes with their own video systems. This will allow a whole class of students to work out on their own machines.
Sierra Vista is also a pilot program for a different type of interactive program. The HopSports Exercise Training System provides interactive instruction in a variety of fashions. The computerized fitness videos offer training in Aerobics, Circuit Training, Core Training, Lesson Combo, Yoga and Pilates. This involves the whole class and they follow the training amid fast paced music and non stop exercise.
“The sweat’s pouring down their face and they’re really getting a good work out…but at the same time they’re having such a good time they don’t even notice,” said Velarde.
Already the program has gained supporters from most everyone who sees it. The upgrades available make getting new lessons as easy as clicking a few buttons, and the technology frees up the teachers to work one on one with the students.
Velarde says the cost of it all, is not something teachers are hiding; “All this technology is really wonderful, but it’s not cheap. We know that, and that’s why we’re trying to raise this money.”
To find out more about the innovative programs that have shot the school’s fitness levels above the national average, log on to www.hartdistrict.org/sierra/pe . There, you can also find out how to donate to the cause.
There will be a demonstration of some of the new programs the school already has in place on March 28th. This demonstration is open to all.