Nationwide competition dared students to complete at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day for 25 consecutive school days
San Diego, CA, November 20, 2014 –To inspire teachers and students to get more active, SPARK™, provider of the world’s most-researched physical education programs, launched the 25-Day Physical Activity Challenge as part of its support of the Let’s Move! Active Schools initiative. Running from September 29-October 30, 2014, the challenge asked K-12 students to complete at least 60 minutes of physical activity each school day during the month.
After calculating the results, SPARK awarded the grand prize of $25,000 worth of SPARK curriculum, training and equipment to Midway Elementary School in Lexington, SC. The second and third place winners, Beloved Community Charter School in Jersey City, NJ and Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in Yakima, WA respectively, received $2,500 SPARK gift certificates to purchase SPARK curriculum or equipment.
“The SPARK Challenge was an awe-worthy experience as I watched our students, teachers and parents pull together with movement activities,” said Laura Gates, physical education teacher at Midway Elementary School. “As a school, we are passionate about exercise, learning and moving. Now the challenge will be to continue growing the physical fitness levels at Midway Elementary, in both body and mind.”
As part of the Challenge, SPARK provided downloadable pledge forms for students to track their minutes of physical activity, as well as physical activity resources for educators to use to help students achieve 60 minutes of activity per day. At the end of the Challenge, teachers collected all tracking logs and reported the number of students who completed the challenge back to SPARK. The winners were then selected based on the following criteria:
- The number of students who registered for the Challenge (Weighted against total school enrollment)
- The number of students who completed the Challenge (Weighted against total school enrollment)
- The number of times a school posted about the Challenge on Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram
- Quality video footage of students being active, commentary about experience with the Challenge and their plans for getting more active in the future.
All 760 Midway Elementary School students completed the 25-Day Physical Activity Challenge.
SHAPE America recommends students in grades K-12 receive at least 60-minutes of physical activity per day, yet many schools offer only sedentary instruction, even during PE class and recess. SPARK fights this traditional school model by making classroom instruction, PE classes and after school programs more physically active. SPARK is an Official Supporting Organization of Let’s Move! Active Schools, a sub-initiative of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign. Learn more and register your school at www.letsmoveschools.org
This year is SPARK’s 25th anniversary. In 1989, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded Dr. Jim Sallis and Dr. Thom McKenzie, two professors from San Diego State University, with funds to create, implement, and evaluate an elementary school PE program to maximize health and behavior related outcomes, and eventually become a nationwide model. This is when Project SPARK (Sports, Play, and Active Recreation for Kids) was born.