Participation in physical activity is associated with better performance in school, but most children do not meet the recommendations of the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans for 60 minutes of daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. The prevalence of inactive behaviors such as sitting and screen time are on the rise, and schools have become largely sedentary environments despite the known health benefits of physical activity. This project is using technology integrated with educational goals to increase rates of physical activity participation and healthy eating to reduce the risk of disease. We are exploring the use of a cooperative educational game coupled with lightweight wearable devices to promote both active transit to and from school and physical activity within school. Students join the scientific process by making their own observations, providing interpretations, and solving problems. Further, students can program the wearable devices themselves, which engages them in their own physical activity monitoring through STEM-connected activities that are aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills learning outcomes. Working alongside students to involve and engage them in the collection of data will inform the way we collect information in the larger Whole Communities–Whole Health cohort study.
Christine Julien (Electrical and Computer Engineering), Darla Castelli (College of Education)