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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A New Generation of Fitness

    Spending a day at the Exergame fitness lab was such an eye opening experience.  I've seen and played games like DDR and Wii before, but these games brought fitness to a new level.  There were fitness appropriate activities ranging from the toddler age, to the adult age, and everything in between.
        I started out dancing on the iDance mats with everyone, but my competition was minimal so I moved on after a few rounds of domination.  I then tried out by far the most tiring thing I did all lab.  I saw people playing an NBA basketball game on an Xbox so I figured I would go check it out.  When I got over there the person playing immediately handed me the controller so I figured "sure, why not."  What I did not realize, however, was that the controller I received was powered by a stair master application, so in order to play you must constantly be moving your feet.  I did not think it would be that bad until I tried, and halfway through the 8 minute quarter I was literally dripping in sweat.  It was exhausting, and by far the least fun, yet most rewarding video game I've ever played.  I continued on to a more vintage, realistic version of Wii tennis, but we could not get the controllers to work (which I was fine by, I needed a few minute break after that basketball game).  
        After domination yet again, this time in Wii, it was time to head over to the next room and see what games they had for the younger crowd.  In this room, there were more early childhood level equipment, still technology based however.  We started talking about the benefits of such technology based games in PE, and the discussion went real well.  The obvious reasons such games work is that they are different, and can easily attract someone's attention.  A game for a pre-K student in which they hear the toy say a number and they have to run and find the cone with the corresponding number on it and scan it like a bar code, is a lot more exciting than just saying, "go find the cone with the number 3 on it!"  There is no dodging that technology is taking over our society, so as opposed to fighting it, we as physical educators should be embracing this change because of all the good that can come from it.  Getting kids to become engaged in PE is more of a challenge now than it arguably ever has been.  Incorporating video games with fitness and lessons is a great way to keep them engaged, while working at improving their overall well being in something they enjoy.
        We then were assigned the task of coming up with different types of games using the equipment that could be used at the pre-K level.  The cut outs of the animals with the letter the animal started with immediately caught my eye.  While it may not be technology based equipment, it certainly was creative and it got me thinking.  Since there was not enough to make a full set, I wanted to build off that, and get the kids minds thinking.  I went to the dollar store today and bought toy farm and wild animals.  I also bought five packs of alphabet letters.  I am going to scatter the letters on the ground, and cover the animals under cones.  I will have pictures printed out of the animals covered (a pig, a cow, a lion, etc) in which they have to work together to match the animal with the picture as well as spell it out (which is why they will be simple, animal words) using the letters.  We could expand on this idea and have them write out their name, and whatever else we want.  I feel this game is a great way to incorporate animal recognition, spelling, and physical fitness since they will be running around doing this.

Hopefully the kids think this is as funky as I do, check back soon to see my Lab 5 report and to see how things went.

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