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Turner Students Have a Wii Bit of Fun Thanks to $3K Grant from the Oliver Foundation

Turner Students Have a Wii Bit of Fun Thanks to $3K Grant from the Oliver Foundation
Posted on 11/14/2013
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Calories In & Calories Out
Turner Elementary fourth grader Joshua Huynh checks his pedometer after a vigorous workout in PE. Huynh and his fellow peers are taking physical education to the next level with their new Wii Fit DDR Energy Class Package, thanks to a $3,000 grant by the Oliver Foundation. The grant is the result of PE teacher Jackie Caver’s Calories In & Calories Out program.


     Turner Elementary students fixated on the animated dance instructor displayed on the enormous projection screen in the gym.
    Up. Down. Left. Right. Students repeated variations of these movements on each individual Wii Fit dance pad to the sounds of their favorite pop tunes. Switch! Every student rotated onto the next dance pad ahead of them or to another fitness station to jump rope or hula hoop.
    This was the work-out routine for fourth graders in Jackie Caver’s Physical Education class on Tuesday, Nov. 13.
    “I love this activity because it is fun and it helps me think twice about eating unhealthy foods so that I can burn more calories and eat healthier,” Madi Willliams, a fourth grade student, said.
    The state-of-the-art Wii Fit Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) Class Package was funded by a $3,000 grant from the Oliver Foundation to assist with the school’s Calories In & Calories Out program, a unique health initiative that helps students monitor the amount of calories gained before a vigorous workout and the amount lost afterward.
    The program’s creator, Caver, says this is the future of physical education and she is bringing it right into Turner’s gymnasium with this grant.
    “They love dancing, they love the music, they love the freedom of moving around and doing something other than just jump roping and hula hooping, so I can tell they are not only getting a good work out, but they are also enjoying their time with the equipment,” Caver said.
    The Calories In & Calories Out program teaches students how active they should be according to the calories they consume. Here is how it works: Each student receives one M&M before they begin the workout. Next, students head to a work-out station to trim off the calories gained after eating the M&M, which according to Caver, requires about five to 10 minutes of vigorous exercise. The class splits up and one group participates in a high-speed heart pumping dance at the Wii stations; while the other group cools down with the jump ropes and hula hoops. Then, they rotate to the next station.
    “I really think that this is going to help them think twice when they eat those fattening foods because they know that if they can’t commit the time and effort to burn it off, it’s going to convert to fat calories, which is unhealthy,” Caver said. “That’s the biggest reason why this is so successful.”
    The Wii Fit DDR Class Package features enough items for an entire class, including Wii Fit Mats, fitstep aerobic boards, metal dance pads, DDR training pads, instructional dance videos and digital pedometers.
    Before students rotate to the next mat, they check their heart rate on a heart monitor. Students also look at the pedometers hanging on their waistbands to help them keep track of their work out.
    “Their heart rates are supposed to be around 150 to 180,” Caver said. “That is the optimum heart rate for kids around 10 years old. If it is below 150, then they are not working hard enough. Most of the kids – when they came off that dance mat – their heart rate was around 160, 180. That tells me that their heart rates are where they are supposed to be and it’s effective.”
    Sandy Bristow, a representative from the Oliver Foundation, stopped by to observe the students utilizing the newly acquired equipment.
    “I think it’s a great program,” she said. “There are several benefits to having the DDR game and the kids are really excited about it. They’re checking their pedometers, getting their heart rate up, learning the importance of Calories In & Calories Out, which is the meat of the program. I wish all the schools had an opportunity to have a program like this.”


Calories In & Calories Out

Calories In & Calories Out

Calories In & Calories Out

Calories In & Calories Out

Calories In & Calories Out

Calories In & Calories Out

Calories In & Calories Out