After learning in health class that childhood obesity is a growing problem in Maine and across the country, fifth graders decided they wanted to do something to promote health and fitness. As a service-learning project, the students decided to take ownership over planning the school’s annual fun run. The students worked with numerous partners during their project, including the Portland Partnership and their school’s Parent Teacher Organization.
As part of their planning, the students researched in health publications the relationship between daily physical activity and fitness, and participated in a variety of fun fitness activities during their Physical Education class. They also created a fun run logo, designed t-shirts, mapped out the course, secured donations, and wrote letters to community members inviting them to participate in the fun run.
The students also wanted to leave the school with something permanent to remind them of the importance of fitness. Working with their teacher, they designed and created stepping-stones to mark distances on a new running path at their school.
On the day of the fun run, the students led other students, community members, parents and friends in warm-up activities and stretches they designed from their research. Following the run, the students presented their stepping-stones to the Parent Teacher Organization. The stones were permanently installed on the running path for students and the community to enjoy for years to come!