by Joey Feith
Earlier in the year, we completed a fitness unit in class that put an emphasis on goal setting. The students were taught about the different components of fitness (i.e. muscular endurance, cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength, flexibility, and body composition). Once they had mastered those concepts, my students went through a series of fitness tests to give them an idea of their current level of fitness. The tests my students performed were:
- Sit and Reach Test (Flexibility)
- Shuttle Run Test (Cardiorespiratory Endurance)
- 60 Second Sit-Up Test (Muscular Endurance)
- Vertical Jump Test (Muscular Strength)
What fitness tests do you run in your gym?
Once the students had completed their tests, they had to analyze their results, identify areas of improvement, and create a fitness goal using the S.M.A.R.T. principle.
Five months later, I decide that it might be a good time to have students re-evaluate their fitness levels. Because it is currently Physical Activity Month at my school, I decided to turn the tests into an extracurricular challenge. Here’s how it worked:
Step One: Accepting Challenges & Setting Goals
Each student received a Fitness Challenge sheet that look liked this:
Download the Fitness Challenge Sheet: PDF
Students had to fill out their sheet by including their a) name, b) grade level, c) age, d) codename. Codenames were used to protect students’ identity when the final results were shared.
Each fitness test on the sheet had three columns associated to it.
The Mountain represented that test’s challenge score. Challenge scores were pre-determined by the teacher and varied between grade levels. I decided what each test’s challenge score should be based on the results I collected in January.
The Target represented the students goal for that test. Students got to fill in their target scores a few days before the Fitness Challenge.
The Bar Graph represented the student’s results. This column was filled in the day of the Fitness Challenge.
Step Two: Testing, Results, and Champions
Students brought their Fitness Challenge sheets with them on the day of the challenge. As students performed the tests, I would collect their results and write them onto their sheets (Side note: I had about 6 volunteers (other students) help me out with recording the results.) Once I had all of the results, I entered them into a spreadsheet and, for each test, sorted the participants’ scores. For each test, the students’ ranks represented the amount of points they earned for that test. For example, if I finished 1st at Vertical Jump, 10th at Shuttle Run, 7th at Sit Up, and 14th at Sit and Reach, my overall score would therefore be 32 (1+10+7+14). For each grade, the student with the least amount of points won the Fitness Challenge (note: for each grade, I crowned a boy and a girl champion). The winners received a diploma that looked like this:
The rest of the results were posted using the students codenames. I only posted the top 12 for each test to avoid students trying to figure out who finished last. If a student didn’t finish in the top 12, they could come see me and I would give them their result. This would also be a good time for me to go over their results and their goals with the students, talk about how they feel about their fitness and see if we can get an action plan together. Here’s what the results sheet looks like:
Download the Fitness Challenge Results Sheet Template: PDF
Step Three: Final Thoughts
This Fitness Challenge was a lot of fun and the students enjoyed participating in it. However, I think its really important that the emphasis be put on overcoming challenges and reaching one’s goals. I feel that negative experiences in fitness testing (e.g. finishing dead last) is a really good way to help kids lose all motivation and hope when it comes to their personal fitness. However, taking the time to focus on the student’s goals and to acknowledge their improvements/achievement can go a long way towards making sure that student stays on track in terms of staying healthy, active, and fit throughout their lifetime.
So what do you think? Is fitness testing something you do in your school? What were your experiences with it when you were young? Do you think this challenge is a step in the right direction towards making fitness testing a fun and important part of healthy living? Leave your thoughts/ideas/suggestions in the comments below. Thanks for reading!
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