Oct 10, 2012 1:27 PM by Samantha Ptashkin
TUCSON- There's a new class at Flowing Wells High School where students don't have to read a book, or pass a test, rather they play Nintendo.
"Yea we get a pretty good amount of exercise," 15-Year-Old Zane Ams says.
Ams is one of about 300 students taking the new physical education class. Half the week is spent learning about nutrition, or doing exercises like walking around the track. The other half of the week students spend the period playing Wii Fit. "It's applicable to what the kids are doing nowadays," says Mark Brunenkant, who teaches the class. "We are trying to incorporate fitness and nutrition into their daily lives."
The idea came about when district leaders were trying to figure out how to change up the high school's 18-week driver's ed class. They wanted to incorporate health into the curriculum.
The high school converted a classroom into a "Nintendo" room, filled with TVs and the Wii Fit systems. The students spend the entire period, playing Wii Fit games. "We only play the ones that give you a good exercise," Ams says.
They visit six different stations in the classroom, each with a different game. Once they're done at each station, the students take their heart rate to measure the level of intensity they're playing each game.
The class is one of several ideas, including healthier cafeteria menus, the district hopes will improve both body and brain health. "The research shows that if students for the first part of their day, get some activity going and get the blood flowing, it's going to help them academically," Superintendent Nic Clement says.
Students say the class is fun, but they do work hard. Brunenkant says many of his students have nicknamed the course "Health on Steroids".