Social Studies With a Side of Snowshoes: Walking Their Way to a Healthy Education
Benjamin Cosor Elementary School
Fallsburg, New York
Leah Exner and the fifteen-member Wellness Team at Benjamin Cosor Elementary in Fallsburg, New York took a wholly integrated—and innovative—approach to make education healthy. With their Game On grant from Action for Healthy Kids, they purchased pedometers for the students to track their steps in PE, while adding a fun competition between classrooms and grade levels for cumulative school progress. Not only are they tracking their total class steps utilizing math skills, but they are also virtually “walking across America” from Fallsburg to the coast of California. PE teacher Ryan Koval integrates social studies lessons on these walks so that each time a class “steps” into a new state, they learn about the capitol, population, state bird, and more!
To address the challenge of keeping kids active during the cold winter months, the Wellness Team also thought of a creative way to get kids tracking their steps outside by using donated and grant-funded snowshoes on the outdoor nature trails surrounding the school. Students using the snowshoes can’t contain their excitement for this activity, exclaiming that it feels like “being in a different world during the school day.” One student said, “I’ve never tried anything like this before, and I love being outside during the winter!” Another loves the sensation of skating. As part of the Wellness Team’s initiative to make these activities educational, informative brochures and pamphlets are accessible along the one- mile trail in kiosks so students can learn more about the surrounding landscape.
The school staff was also inspired to check out the pedometers and snowshoes for their own use after school and on weekends to model healthy behaviors for the students. Promoting physical activity year-round at Benjamin Cosor Elementary has motivated the both the students and staff to make healthier choices at school and home. We can’t wait to track what they’ll do next!
This grant was made possible with funding from GoGo squeeZ.