By Kristen Davis, 1st Grade Educator from Jay Elementary School, Santa Rosa County, Florida School District
Super Health, Super You Discovery Education Program Ambassador
As teachers trying to change the landscape of education to match the progress of technology, we understand how important it is to make sure students are fluent in technology and understand how to use it properly. But we also know that a lot of time is spent in front of screens that is not educational and can be detrimental to physical and social wellbeing. Determining a healthy balance between screen time and physical activity is an ongoing hot topic on all the trending networks, from “Pinteresting” mom blogs to scholarly articles. The newest Super Health, Super You activity Balancing Act was designed to help teachers share the knowledge of how to balance physical activities and screen time on a daily basis.
The Balancing Act lesson was created to give students the opportunity to consider what it actually means to be physically fit. They are given a log to write down the amount of time spent daily on screens of all kinds and physical activities for one week. They are then able to collect and analyze the data, draw conclusions about their findings, and determine ways to enhance decision making for healthier choices.
When using Balancing Act with my own students, we found that they seriously underestimated their screen time when we first began. We found that the boys and girls used screen time much differently, (boys on video games and girls watching tv), but that their ideas of good physical activities were the same. When the groups looked deeper into their logs, they found that the only students who were actually active for a full 60 minutes of physical activity each day, were those who were involved in organized sports.
For elementary students, this lesson was an eye opener. We were able to have real conversations about how the increased amount of screen time, while not necessarily a bad thing, could lead to a lower level of physical fitness, decreased performance in school, and could interfere with relationships with friends and family. These conversations at school turned into conversations at home between parents and students.
Have you used this activity in your classroom or at home with your kids? What conversations started with your students?