One step at a time, Indian Land Elementary School students are getting fit and, hopefully, winning some prizes in the process.
As part of a "Get Fit" grant given to the Lancaster County School District, district elementary and middle school students in grades three to eight and physical education students in ninth through 12 grade were given a pedometer to record their steps over a four week period.
The names of the students with the highest number of steps in the district, one for each elementary, middle and high school, will be placed in a drawing for a Nintendo Wii, as well as gift certificates to area restaurants and retailers. The winning students and the school with the most steps will also be recognized at the May 19 board member.
Mike Kersey said students were eager to participate in the district's challenge to try to log enough steps to walk to the moon, 238,855 steps. And more importantly, he said, carrying a pedometer every day has been fun for the students, as they watched the number of their steps increase throughout the day.
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"They are really being conscious about moving every single day," Kersey said. "Most of them are surprised by how many steps they get in P.E. class or playing outside."
The pedometers hook easily onto a pocket or students' waistbands. It is each students responsibility to remember to put their pedometer on each day, and to log their steps each Friday in Kersey's class. After the challenge is complete, the pedometer is the students to keep.
"Everybody is doing it," said Kersey. "These girls are even wearing them on their dresses, clipping them on without pockets. I love to see that."
This is the first year the district has implemented the program but the "Get Fit" grant will allow them to continue it for two more years.
This year, Kersey said that he is still trying to get a feel for how many steps an elementary school student can be expected to take each day. Adults are supposed to average about 10,000 steps per day for good physical health, according to the American Council on Exercise.
"I'm trying to get them to develop an appreciation for lifelong physical activity," said Kersey.
The last day for students to record steps was April 10. A drawing will be held for the highest steppers after the district's Spring Break.