Showing posts with label Physical Education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Physical Education. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

My Updated List of Halloween-themed Activities and Resources

Halloween is just a couple of weeks away. My daughters are getting excited to wear their costumes (they're going to be Winnie the Pooh and Tigger). Their excitement reminded me that it's time for me to publish my annual list of Halloween-themed lesson activities and resources. This year's list includes some of my old favorites and some new ones. 

Halloween Reading
ReadWorks offers a collection of Halloween-themed articles for a  K-8 audience and a few for 9-12. The articles covered topics like the history of Halloween, pumpkin farms, and the history of ghost stories. Like all ReadWorks articles, you'll find comprehension questions and vocabulary sets to accompany the articles. A read aloud feature is also available in ReadWorks.

Pumpkin Dice Latte Challenge
The Pumpkin Dice Latte Challenge comes from Justin Cahill at Keeping Kids in Motion. This is a physical education game that is played by rolling dice then completing an exercise like "spooky squats" and "boogedy boogedy burpees." You can get the complete directions for the game and a video demonstration of the game right here on Keeping Kids in Motion.

Jack-o-Lantern Google Slides
Eric Curts recently published a new Google Slides Build a Jack-o-Lantern template. His new template includes an audio storytelling component for students. You can get the template and Eric's complete directions for using the template right here on his blog, Control Alt Achieve

Halloween Science Videos
SciShow Kids has a playlist of videos covering topics that are frequently connected to symbols of Halloween. Those topics are bats, spiders, skeletons, and the changing colors of leaves. In the video about bats students learn how bats use sound to find their way at night, how and why bats hang upside down, and how they rear their offspring. In the video on spiders students learn about the role of spiders in controlling flying insect populations and how spiders create webs. In the video about the human skeleton students can learn about the functions of the skeleton as well as how bones grow and heal over time. Finally, in the video on leaves students learn about the correlation between chlorophyll, sunlight, and leaf color.

Halloween Traditions
PBS Learning Media has a collection of Halloween-themed lessons for elementary school students. One of the those lessons is all about the historical traditions that contributed to the creation of Halloween. The materials for this lesson include a short video, video discussion questions, and a vocabulary sheet. All of the items in PBS Learning Media's Halloween collection can be shared to Google Classroom where you can add questions for students answer after watching the videos.

Halloween Math
Number Chase - Math vs. Zombies is a free iPad game with a Halloween theme. The game is has three virtual worlds each containing ten levels of basic math problems.

Halloween Safety via Kahoot
If you'd like to play some Halloween trivia games or Halloween safety tips review games with your students, Kahoot has hundreds of games on those topics. Here's my video tutorial on how to find and modify Halloween games on Kahoot.

Halloween TED-Ed Lessons
In Why Should You Read Edgar Allan Poe? students can learn about Poe's guiding principles for writing, the recurring themes of his work, and the personal factors in his life that contributed to his writing. Find the complete lesson here or watch the video as embedded below.

If your students are going to do some Halloween-themed writing, TED-Ed has a lesson titled How to Make Your Writing Suspenseful that could be helpful to them. 

Vampires: Folklore, Fantasy, and Fact is a TED-Ed lesson that explores the myth of vampires. 

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Plan Safe Routes for World Bicycle Day

Today is World Bicycle Day! By the time most of you read this I'll be on my way to Kansas to participate in Unbound Gravel 200, a 200 mile bike race across gravel roads around Emporia, Kansas. You don't have to punish yourself like I am this weekend to enjoy riding a bicycle. All you need is a bike, a helmet, and a safe place to ride. To that end, Google Maps and Strava can help you plan safe biking routes. In the following videos I demonstrate how you can use both of those tools to map safe bicycling routes. 





This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin and WayBetterSite. Featured image captured by Richard Byrne.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Seven Apps and Sites to Encourage Healthy Diet and Exercise Habits

It's that time of year when many of us have healthy eating and exercise on our minds. Even if you're a regular exerciser like me, the December can be a tricky time to stick to good eating and exercise habits. The following apps and sites might help you get back on track. And if you or your students are making New Year's resolutions to move more and eat better, these apps and sites can help. 

MoveIt is a free Chrome extension that tries to help you avoid sitting in front of your computer for too long. At intervals of your choosing MoveIt will prompt you to get up and complete a short exercise. You can set the intervals to be as frequent as every five minutes or as infrequent as every hour. You can also disable MoveIt altogether for the times when you absolutely cannot be interrupted.

Sworkit Kids which I featured yesterday provides you with short exercise your students can do in your classroom or at home. Sworkit Kids simply features short video demonstrations of a movement like diagonal hopping accompanied by a countdown timer. There is also a Sworkit app for adults which provides full workouts to follow along with on your phone, tablet, or computer. 

GoNoodle is a popular service that has been around for five or six years. It's changed a little bit over the years but at its core it is still designed to promote physical fitness in a fun environment. GoNoodle features lots of free videos that lead students in short, 2-5 minutes, exercises. These are fun exercises like dancing that can be done in your classroom or at home with parents. Many of the videos are also available on GoNoodle's YouTube channel


One of the simple improvements that I made to my diet a six years ago was not using sugar in my morning coffee (I never used cream). The CDC's Rethink Your Drink helped me understand how many extra calories I was taking in by adding sugar to my coffee. Rethink Your Drink provides a chart of sugar content and calories found in popular beverages. The PDF also contains a chart of suggested alternatives to drinking sugary beverages. In addition to the charts Rethink Your Drink provides suggestions on ways to cut sugar calories safely while not sacrificing nutrients.

On a similar note to Rethink Your Drink, Sugar Stacks is a good website for understanding how much sugar is in the food and beverages that we consume. Sugar Stacks lists popular food and beverage items in ten categories. Every item is pictured with a stack of sugar cubes. Each sugar cube represents four grams of sugar. This is a great way to see just how much sugar you really consume in your favorite snack or beverage.

Space Chef is a free iPad app from the Lawrence Hall of Science. The purpose of the app is to introduce students to healthy foods and recipes that they may not have ever tried or even heard about. Space Chef features a fast-paced game in which students have to quickly grab the ingredients for a recipe. The ingredients scroll past them in three streams or flight paths. Students are shown a recipe at the top of the screen and they must grab the appropriate ingredients as they stream across the screen.

Walking, running, and biking are three simple ways to get regular exercise. I live in an area that doesn't have many sidewalks or even wide shoulders on the road so it can be hard to find safe places for those activities. If you live in a similar area, you might also hear the same complaint from students and parents. To help them find safe routes you could create walking, running, and biking routes in Google Maps. In this short video I demonstrate how to do that.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Get the Wiggles Out With Sworkit Kids

Sworkit Kids is a free app that I've been using and recommending for a few years. It provides prompts for one to five minute physical activities that kids can do in their classrooms or at home relatively small spaces. These activities are great for short brain breaks or to "get the wiggles out" during a long class. Recently, I discovered that you can use Sworkit Kids without installing the app on your phone

Whether you use Sworkit on your phone or in your web browser at https://app.sworkit.com/collections/kids-workouts the content is the same. You can choose from nineteen categories of activities. The categories are arranged by age group and activity type. After you've selected a category you can then choose the length of the activity. Once you've made those two selections Sworkit will show a demonstration of the physical movement to be done and set a countdown timer for doing the activity. If you've chosen an activity length of more than a minute you'll be shown a few different physical movements to complete. 


Applications for Education
The activities in Sworkit Kids are great for students of all ages, but are particularly good to use with elementary school students who need a break during a Zoom session. Consider using a Sworkit activity as the transition between two topics or tasks during a Zoom session. 

Friday, August 28, 2020

The Science of Cycling and the Tour de France

The Tour de France begins tomorrow, about two months after it was scheduled to begin. As an avid cyclist I enjoy watching it and I find that it provides some neat opportunities for science, health, and physical education lessons. Here are some of my go-to resources for teaching and learning about the Tour de France.

The Science of Bicycles and Bicycling
There is a lot of physics involved in casual bike riding and in racing. Here's a selection of videos that explain the physics of bicycling.

The first time that you ride in a pack of experienced cyclists you'll feel the power of drafting. Besides their incredible fitness and bike handling skills, drafting helps cyclists in the Tour de France move quickly. The following video explains how drafting works.


Minute Physics offers two videos about the physics of bicycles. In How Do Bikes Stay Up? we learn how bikes stay upright, how design and weight influences balance, and why bicycles are difficult to balance in reverse. The Counterintuitive Physics of Turning a Bike explains how we turn bicycles.




The Diet of a Tour de France Racer
I've done some long days on my bike over the years including a double-century ride and at the end I've always felt like I could eat anything in sight. That's because I burned thousands of calories. But even then I didn't burn the 6,000-8,000+ calories that a typical Tour de France racer burns every day of the race.

What does it look like and feel like to eat like a professional cyclist? That's what the Wall Street Journal's Joshua Robinson set out to discover in his 6,000 calorie challenge. Take a look at the video below to see how he did it. Pay attention to the professional cyclist at the 2:40 mark in the video for commentary about energy gels because it surprise you and make you rethink the whether or not the average weekend warrior needs the expensive "sports energy" products for a simple hour workout.


If you want to get into a bit more of the science of nutrition of cyclists, take a look at this video featuring the team nutritionist for EF Education First's professional cycling team.


Monday, March 23, 2020

How to Collect and Organize Images in Google Classroom

A friend of mine who teaches phys ed had the idea to have his students submit pictures as evidence of doing phys ed activities at home. He asked me for advice on how to best collect and organize those pictures. I recommended posting the assignment in Google Classroom and collecting the images that way. In the following video I demonstrate how that process looks from the perspective of a teacher and from the perspective of a student.



This process can be used for collecting any kind of file that you want to request from your students. For example, you could collect and organize video files and audio files this way. I only used image files in the demonstration because that's what I was specifically asked about.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

A Halloween-themed Physical Education Program

In last week's episode of The Practical Ed Tech Podcast I mentioned a great blog for physical education teachers. That blog is called Keeping Kids in Motion and it is written by Justin Cahill. One of the free resources available on his blog is Fitness is Spooktacular.

Fitness is Spooktacular is a kids fitness challenge for the month of October (adults can do it too). There is a downloadable calendar of little workouts that you can do with your students throughout the month of October. Each workout is represented by either a jack-o-lantern, a skull, or a bat.

When students complete the Fitness is Spooktacular challenge they can receive a certificate. Certificates are available for teachers to download and print for free from the Keeping Kids in Motion blog.

Applications for Education
Keeping Kids in Motion is a blog that's great for elementary school physical education teachers as well as anyone who is looking for ideas on how to encourage kids to stay physically fit. The blog is full of ideas that can be implemented across a school and not just in the gym.

Monday, September 9, 2019

TeachPhysEd- A Great Library of Videos Demonstrating Phys Ed Lessons

TeachPhysEd is a website and YouTube channel maintained by Coach Benjamin Pirillo. On his YouTube channel Coach Pirillo demonstrates and explains activities for physical education teachers to use in their classrooms. I've watched half a dozen of the videos and have been impressed by his explanations of the rationale for the formatting of the activities and cross-curricular inclusion. Embedded below you can see the latest TeachPhysEd video and my favorite cross-curricular TeachPhysEd activity (yes, the choice reveals my social studies background).


Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Dozens of Apps for Physical Education

Glide is in my top five favorite new tools in 2019. Glide makes it incredibly easy for anyone who can make a spreadsheet to make a mobile app. We had fun using at the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp and many other people have shared their apps with me over the last few months. Perhaps no one has shared more apps made with Glide than Kevin Shephard at Support REAL Teachers.

Kevin has created dozens of apps through Glide. Many of the apps are designed for use by physical education teachers. In the Support REAL Teachers list of apps made with Glide include apps for equipment check out, exercise routines, golf scoring, grading, and a directory of mentors for physical education teachers.

If you would like to learn how to make your own mobile app through Glide, watch my short tutorial video that is embedded below.


You can find even more apps for physical education in the Support REAL Teachers directory of apps.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Plan Safe Running, Walking, and Biking Routes With Strava

Strava is an app that I use to record data about my bike rides and runs. There is a social component to Strava that lets you follow your friends and give them "kudos" for completing a ride or run too.

You can use Strava without planning a route, but if you're going to a new area or you're just the type of person who likes to have a plan then you'll want to use the route planning feature. The route planning feature in Strava will automatically measure distance, calculate elevation changes, and give you an estimate of how long your route will take to complete.

Watch my video below to learn how to plan a safe biking, running, or walking route with Strava.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Resources for Learning About the Tour de France and Science of Cycling

One of these two people has won
a Tour de France Green Jersey.
The Tour de France starts this coming Saturday. The race always ends in Paris, but it starts in a different place and takes a different route every year. This year's course starts in Belgium. You can see the whole course here on the official Tour de France website. If you or your students have an interest in the race or cycling in general, take a look at the following resources.

Wear a Helmet!
On Friday I witnessed a hard crash at over 20mph in which a rider in my group broke an orbital bone and suffered a concussion. Fortunately, he was wearing a top-of-the-line helmet or it may have been much worse. The rules of UCI (the governing body of professional cycling) require all riders to wear a helmet at all times. Just wearing a helmet isn't enough. The helmet much be properly fitted and buckled to your head. The Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky offers some good resources about brain injury prevention. One of those resources is a short animated video designed to teach students about the need for wearing a helmet and how to wear helmets when biking or skateboarding. In the video students learn how to pick a helmet and how to properly fit a helmet.


Tour de France Animated
This animated video provides an overview of the tactics of the race, the logistics of the race, the physiology of riding in the race, and many other interesting facts about the world's most famous bicycle race.



How the Tour de France is Won
How is the overall winner of the Tour de France determined? It's not as simple as you might think. In addition to the overall winner's Yellow Jersey there are other prizes awarded in the race. Learn all about how the race times and points are calculated by watching the following video from the Global Cycling Network.



The Science of Cycling
There is a lot of physics involved in casual bike riding and in racing. Here's a selection of videos that explain the physics of bicycling.

The first time that you ride in a pack of experienced cyclists you'll feel the power of drafting. Besides their incredible fitness and bike handling skills, drafting helps cyclists in the Tour move quickly. The following video explains how drafting works.



Minute Physics offers two videos about the physics of bicycles. In How Do Bikes Stay Up? we learn how bikes stay upright, how design and weight influences balance, and why bicycles are difficult to balance in reverse.


The Counterintuitive Physics of Turning a Bike explains how we turn bicycles.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

A Good and Free Summer Activity for Rainy Days

This afternoon I was talking with my childcare provider about activities for kids to do on rainy summer days. One of the things that I mentioned was going bowling. Doing that reminded me of a free program that I've been sharing almost every year since 2012 and has been running for a dozen years. That program is Kids Bowl Free.

Kids Bowl Free offers two free games per day to students in the United States and Canada. Kids Bowl Free is a program funded by bowling alleys to provide students with a safe and fun activity during the summer.

To receive coupons for up to two free games of bowling per day, parents need to register on Kids Bowl Free. Each bowling center sets its own start and end date for the program so check the listings for a bowling center in your area.

Monday, March 25, 2019

How to Create an Activity Tracker With Google Forms & Sheets

Last week I gave a presentation at the MACUL Conference titled 5 Ways to Blend Technology Into Outdoor Lessons. One of the topics within that presentation is the idea of tracking time spent exercising or playing outside. One fairly easy way to do that is to create a Google Form that students or their parents can use to submit the number of minutes that they spent playing outside. In this video I demonstrate how to make an activity tracker by using Google Forms, Google Sheets, and a pivot table within Google Sheets.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Six Educational Activities That Have a Super Bowl Theme

The Super Bowl is this weekend. My prediction is that the Patriots will win. I'm guessing that my American readers have a student or two who has an interest in the game too. Try one of the following resources to turn your students' enthusiasm for the Super Bowl into a fun lesson.

NBC's Science of Football is a series of ten videos from NBC Learn explaining and demonstrating math and science concepts as they relate to football. The list of topics covered in the Science of NFL Football includes Torque & Center of Mass, Pythagorean Theorem, Geometric Shapes, Projectile Motion & Parabolas, Vectors, Kinematics, Nutrition, and Newton's 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Laws of Motion.

Choosito has a lesson plan that asks students to investigate the causes and effects of concussions. The lesson includes studying the trends in concussion diagnoses and treatments during the last 20 years.

Practical Money Skills hosts a series of eight online games designed to teach students some money management skills. One of the games that is timely considering that the Super Bowl is just a few days away is Financial Football. Financial Football has students answer questions about budgets, savings, and spending to move their football teams down the field against another team. The games use real NFL team logos. Financial Football takes at least twenty minutes to play.

The Superb Owl is a cute video about owls. The video presents interesting facts about four types of owls. The whole four minute video is presented as if it is an NFL pre-game show.


One of the dangers of playing football is the risk of head injuries. TED-Ed has a good lesson that explains what happens to your brain when you get a concussion.



NFL Play 60 Kids Day Live is a virtual field trip happening today at 12pm Eastern Time. The free virtual event will take kids on a tour of the field where the Super Bowl will be played. Throughout the tour there will be appearances from NFL players and cheerleaders who will share tips for staying physically active and healthy. You can register for the virtual field trip right here. For those who cannot attend the live broadcast, the virtual field trip will be available on-demand at a later date. And there are lots of related lesson plans that you can download and other videos that you can view on-demand on the NFL Play 60 Teachers' page. There are lesson plans that can be used in elementary school and middle school physical education, science, math, and language arts.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Take Your Class On a NFL Virtual Field Trip

The Super Bowl is happening this weekend. If your students have an interest in football, you might be interested in a virtual field trip that the NFL and Discovery Education are hosting tomorrow.

NFL Play 60 Kids Day Live is happening tomorrow at 12pm Eastern Time. The free virtual event will take kids on a tour of the field where the Super Bowl will be played. Throughout the tour there will be appearances from NFL players and cheerleaders who will share tips for staying physically active and healthy. You can register for the virtual field trip right here.

For those who cannot attend tomorrow, the virtual field trip will be available on-demand at a later date. And there are lots of related lesson plans that you can download and other videos that you can view on-demand on the NFL Play 60 Teachers' page. There are lesson plans that can be used in elementary school and middle school physical education, science, math, and language arts.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Common Craft Offers a Great Guide to Understanding the World Cup

Like many Americans, I don't really understand soccer so when the World Cup rolls around every four years I have to refresh my memory about the game. Fortunately for me, as they did four years ago, Common Craft has released an updated guide to understanding the World Cup.

Common Craft's Soccer Guide was made for folks like me who aren't well versed in the rules of soccer and the format of the World Cup. The Common Craft Soccer Guide contains twelve chapters about the format of the World Cup and the rules of soccer. Each chapter contains text and animated GIFs demonstrating the key points of each chapter. You can view all of the guide online.

Applications for Education
The Common Craft Soccer Guide is perfectly timed for the World Cup. After the World Cup the guide could be a good resource for introducing kids to the basics of soccer.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

To Geography and Beyond With Google Maps & Earth

I loved Google Earth since the first time I used it. And I have enjoyed teaching it to many teachers over the last decade. That's why I'm excited to offer To Geography and Beyond With Google Maps & Earth. This course will meet on three Thursday afternoons starting on November 30th.

In addition to social studies Google Maps and Google Earth can be used in physical education, mathematics, science, and language arts lessons. Google Maps and Google Earth can be used to tell stories, to analyze data, and to discover new information. Of course, you can also use it find your way to that new coffee shop in town. You'll learn all of those things and more in this course beginning on November 30th. Register here. 

In addition to three live webinars, the course includes handouts containing detailed tutorials, a discussion forum, and professional development certificate for completion. Register here! The cost of this Practical Ed Tech course is $97.

Course highlights:
1. How to create multimedia maps.

2. How to build virtual tours.

3. How to collaboratively create multimedia maps.

4. How to map data and use maps to analyze data.

5. How mapping strengthens recall.

The cost of this course is $97.


Can't make it to the live webinars? Don't worry because the recording of each session will be emailed to you the next day and you can still participate in all of the Q&A in the discussion forum.

A note about fees for webinars:
Whenever I advertise a Practical Ed Tech webinar I am asked why they aren't free. There are two reasons. One, hosting professional development events is one of the ways that I am able to keep the lights on at Free Technology for Teachers. Two, while all of the tools featured in my webinars are free to use, my time for teaching about them is not free.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Every Kid in a Park - Free Admission to National Parks

In yesterday's week-in-review post I mentioned that I hope my daughter grows up to enjoy the great outdoors as much as I do. Then almost as if she was reading my mind, my sister tipped me off to a U.S. National Parks program called Every Kid in a Park. The program offers free admission to students in fourth grade. But not only does the fourth grader get in for free, his or her family does as well (provided the fourth grader is present at time of visit).

f there aren't any national parks near you, you can still explore them through some nice online resources. National Parks virtual tours are available in the Google Arts & Culture apps for Android and iOS. If you have VR headsets available to you, take a look at Google Expeditions virtual tours of the "hidden treasures" of National Parks. 

Over the years PBS has produced many videos about the National Parks. You can view some of those videos in their entirety on the PBS video website. Search on the site for "national parks" and you'll have a big list of videos to view. Here's a list to get you started.

Web Rangers offers seven categories of games about different subjects related to the National Parks. The game categories are people, animals, parks, science, history, nature, and puzzles. Each category contains games of varying difficulty rated from easy to difficult. Some of the game topics include dendrochronology, animal tracking, animal identification, fire fighting, and map reading. Students can play Web Rangers games as visitors or as registered users. Registered users can track their progress and earn virtual rewards. Registered users can also create their own customized virtual ranger stations

The National Parks Service's Digital Image Archive is an excellent place to find images of U.S. National Parks. You can search the archive by park and or subject. All of the images are free to download as they are in the public domain. The National Parks Service also offers a b-roll video gallery. The videos in the galleries are in the public domain. The b-roll video gallery can be searched by park, monument, building, or person. All of the videos can be downloaded. Some files are quite large so keep that in mind if your school has bandwidth limits and you have all of your students searching for videos at the same time.

Google Earth offers a great way for students to view national parks in the United States and beyond. Your students can explore imagery in Google Earth to learn about the topography of a national park. In a lot of cases there is Street View imagery available within national parks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Your students might also benefit from viewing tours within Google Earth.To locate a tour you can refine a Google search by file type to .KMZ and then launch the tours that appear in your search results.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

10 Apps & Sites for Promoting Healthy Eating and Fitness

In all of my Best of the Web presentations I try to present resources for a wide variety of classroom settings and subject areas. Health and physical education resources are always included because of my personal interest in the field as well as its importance in giving students lifelong skills. Here are ten of my favorite resources for teaching and promoting health and fitness in schools.

GoNoodle is a free service that is designed to promote physical fitness in a fun environment. GoNoodle features tons of free videos that lead students in short, 2-5 minutes, exercises. These are fun exercises like dancing that can be done in your classroom or at home with parents. GoNoodle provides an online environment in which students track the minutes that they spend exercising. Students choose avatars to represent themselves in the GoNoodle environment. New avatars are available once a student completes enough activity time to reach a new level. Learn more about GoNoodle in the videos below.



One of the simple improvements that I made to my diet two years ago was removing sugar from my morning coffee (I never used cream). The CDC's Rethink Your Drink helped me understand how many extra calories I was taking in through sugar. Rethink Your Drink provides a chart of sugar content and calories found in popular beverages. The PDF also contains a chart of suggested alternatives to drinking sugary beverages. In addition to the charts Rethink Your Drink provides suggestions on ways to cut sugar calories safely while not sacrificing nutrients.

How Sugar Affects the Brain is a TED-Ed lesson through which students learn why sugary foods and beverages can become addictive and how the human body processes sugar. The video is embedded below.


Untamed Science offers a similar video lesson in which we learn why so many of us crave sugar and sweet things. The video is embedded below.



Sugar Stacks is a good website for understanding how much sugar is in the food and beverages that we consume. Sugar Stacks lists popular food and beverage items in ten categories. Every item is pictured with a stack of sugar cubes. Each sugar cube represents four grams of sugar. This is a great way to see just how much sugar you really consume in your favorite snack or beverage.

Sworkit Kids a free iOS and Android app designed to get kids moving with short, fun exercises. The app features workouts of five to thirty minutes in length (you pick the length). Each workout has a mix of fun exercises like diagonal hopping, crab walking, and hopping on one foot. You can choose exercises or let the app create a sequence of exercises for you.

Space Chef is a free iPad app from the Lawrence Hall of Science. The purpose of the app is to introduce students to healthy foods and recipes that they may not have ever tried or even heard about. Space Chef features a fast-paced game in which students have to quickly grab the ingredients for a recipe. The ingredients scroll past them in three streams or flight paths. Students are shown a recipe at the top of the screen and they must grab the appropriate ingredients as they stream across the screen.

Monster Heart Medic is another free iOS and Android app from the Lawrence Hall of Science. The app is designed to help students in elementary and middle school understand how the cardiovascular system is affected by diet and exercise. The app features a character named Ragnar that students must diagnose then help develop a plan to live a healthier life. Sabba Quidwai wrote an extensive review of the app here.  

Arthur Family Health is a free resource from PBS Kids. Arthur Family Health is designed to help parents, teachers, and students learn about common health challenges children face. Through videos, games (online and offline), and data sheets visitors to Arthur Family Health can learn about asthma, allergies, nutrition, fitness, and resilience (dealing with tragedies).

Walking, running, and biking are three simple ways to get regular exercise. I live in a rural area that doesn't have many sidewalks or even wide shoulders on the road so it can be hard to find safe places for those activities. If you live in a similar area, you might also hear the same complaint from students and parents. To help them find safe routes you could create walking, running, and biking routes in Google Maps. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to do that.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

How Igloos Can Keep You Warm - And Winter Phys Ed Activities

How an Igloo Keeps You Warm is a new video from It's Okay To Be Smart. The video does a great job of explaining how an igloo provides insulation and stays relatively warm when people are inside it. The video also explains the engineering concepts used in the creation of a strong and warm igloo.


Winter is a tough time to get outside and exercise. But if you have some fun activities planned, it is a little bit easier to go outside. Here are some fun and somewhat educational activities to do in the snow.

NOVA, as part of their program on Denali, has directions for building a snow cave and directions for building an Igloo. (If you do either of these activities, make sure that you closely supervise students. A collapsed snow cave or igloo can be very dangerous).

Boys' Life offers a list of outdoor winter games as well as directions for building igloos and snow shelters.

Making your own snowshoes is an activity that can be done indoors with the final product enjoyed outdoors. Mother Earth News offers directions for making your own snowshoes. How Cast has video directions for making an emergency pair of snowshoes.


When I was about seven or eight I was given a copy of The American Boy's Handy Book. That book is filled with fun hands-on indoor and outdoor activities including an entire section devoted to snow forts and other snow-related activities.