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Head to the gym – for STEM education

‘STEM in the Gym’ combines physical education with core academic concepts

Remember anticipating gym class or recess because you could get away from your desk and move around? Now, imagine a way to capture this energy and use it to teach STEM concepts.

(Printable PDF)

That way is STEM in the Gym: Simple Machines. With this curriculum, students participate in physical activities that use simple machines: the wedge, lever, wheel and axle, screw, inclined plane, pulley, and gears. Created by Cindy Jones, a physical education teacher inspired after taking a children’s engineering course, the curriculum is geared to teach concepts to students in Grades 3-5. But even K-2 students can enjoy the activities.

Jones was the first physical education teacher to take the engineering course, so she was challenged to apply engineering to her subject.

“I asked myself, ‘How would I, if I were a student, want to learn simple machines?’” said Jones. “I would love to learn by being on the gears, pulling myself up, and by seeing and feeling how they work.”

Using specialized equipment for elementary students along with standard gym equipment such as scooters, cones, ropes, and mats, STEM in the Gym: Simple Machines teaches about mechanical advantage, load, work, gravity, and other concepts in a kinesthetic manner while emphasizing safety and teamwork.

Each activity lesson includes objectives, vocabulary, a list of equipment needed, time required, procedure, and safety reminders. The national science, physical education, and technology standards are listed at the end of the guide. The curriculum guide is approximately 35 pages and details seven lessons.

STEM in the Gym: Simple Machines will be available for order in July 2011. Learn more about this curriculum or call 800-835-0686. See it in action on YouTube.

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Note to media: Images for STEM in the Gym: Simple Machines are available upon request.


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