While the CDC recommends that school age children get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day, it’s estimated that only 25% of children actually do. This winter, with the cold weather, the cancelation of many indoor sports opportunities, and the increase of screen usage for virtual learners, we knew it was vitally important to help advocate for students to have more opportunities for physical activity during their school day.
To address this, The Wellbeing Partners teamed up with two of our OPS school partners, Skinner Magnet Center and Howard Kennedy Elementary for a “Walk & Roll Challenge”. We helped schools purchase pedometers with funds from our Maternal Child Health grant to log physical activity, and the challenge was on! Students, teachers, administrators, and support staff alike counted steps to see which school could log the most physical activity. Once the 4-week challenge period had ended, students and staff had walked or rolled a combined 15,753,038 steps or 5,292 miles–the distance between Omaha and São Paulo, Brazil. WOW!
We needed to celebrate this accomplishment! Students at both schools received certificates with their names and a healthy snack—granola bites created by No More Empty Pots. Staff at both buildings also received a healthy catered lunch to thank them for the extra work that they put in on this project. Howard Kennedy, the winning school with over 11 million steps, also received a dance party, with Omaha’s DJ AMIMALE joining students via zoom for music, dancing, and trivia—with glow bracelets, of course. Students at Howard Kennedy also received individual medals and a GIANT Walk & Roll Challenge Cup with plenty of space to engrave future winners of the challenge as the cup travels year after year.
Following the celebration event, second grade teacher Mrs. Rodriguez, told us, “We moved the whole room around to clear a space for the dance party and the kids LOVED it!” Mr. Grothen in 5th grade said, “The 5th graders were really getting down. The DJ had them all fired up and having fun!” But physical activity wasn’t the only winner of this challenge. Throughout the challenge period, students engaged in mathematics as they added up multi-digit numbers to find the class’s step counts each day, they participated in data entry as they imputed steps into the form, and they experienced the joy of working towards a common goal as a community of learners. We couldn’t be prouder of the hard work from students and staff at both buildings!
Published April 19th, 2021