How do you ensure the mental, social and emotional well- being of students when you can’t even see them in person?
This is the challenge Mark Myers, a secondary Physical Education teacher faced when he arrived to his quarantined hotel in Ulabaantar, Mongolia. As a new arrival, he would be required to spend the next 5 weeks there; his new school started in 2 days.
He reached out to me hoping to find a way to teach social, emotional and physical health to his secondary students from within his hotel room.
We first looked at CoVid as a context for learning. How could we use the current problems caused by this virus as a gateway into his curriculum? He wanted his students to investigate the affects CoVid had on the body, while also exploring how fitness could help prevent and combat it.
We identified relevant standards across a number of strands; from physical coordination and movement, to mental homeostasis and functioning. Next, we looked for a question that would drive the learning. After a bit of probing, in only 10 minutes, we had our question:
Driving Question: What impact does CoVid 19 have on our bodies, and how can we use fitness to help our community combat and prevent it?
Students will work in teams to first investigate the effect CoVid 19 has on bodily functions, and then develop tailored fitness/ wellness programs for community members to prevent and combat it. On remote learning days, they will conduct research, and on in-person days, they will trial and videotape the fitness routines. While Mark will only be able to lead remote lessons, his partner teacher on campus will supervise in person lessons to ensure students maintain progress.
Through the process of investigation, students will Skype/Zoom with kinesiologists and doctors to gain feedback, ensure they are backed by data, and make a lasting impact.
Final programs will be showcased and made available for the school community via a website, and if all goes well, the department of health’s website as well.
For students, as the project launches this week, the transformation has yet to be seen. For Mark, it’s already happened…
Have you been forced to teach in a remote or hybrid environment? How will you engage and empower your students?
Use inquiry rich project- based experiences to develop your students’ self awareness, conquer your standards, and create a community of innovators.
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