Tonawanda News

Local News

October 19, 2013

Making fitness fun

New activity walls bring touch of high-tech to NT elementary gym classes


Tonawanda News — The program provided the money for the Sportwalls, which are made by Xergames and cost about $30,000 per gym. The grant is meant, in part, to be used for ways to increase students’ interests in physicality, and the walls do that by making everything a game, said Nancy Miranto, physical education department coordinator.

“They’re just ways to get the kids moving and liking movement and being excited about coming to class,” she said. “Different teachers are finding different ways to use it every day.”

For example, some teachers use the walls and their activities for class warmups, while others use them for a cool-down, or a reward for the end of class, said Katie Feldmann, program coordinator. The different games can also be tailored to different age and skills groups.

“With the kindergartners, as long as they throw and hit the wall, they’ll get points,” she said. “In the fifth grade, if you hit the target, you’ll get five points ... and if you miss the target, you’ll lose points. 

“You can distract them with modern technology without them realizing they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing. It’s a fun way to encourage them.”

It seems to be working. Students taking part in the class said that they look forward to getting to their physical education class and finding out they’re using the walls.

“They’re really fun,” said Ryan Tuite, 7. “You can play multiple games on them — and I like them all.”

Jovann Wilmott, 7, called the new technology “cool.”

“I like that we can do a whole lot of stuff like games. Those walls can’t do things like that,” she said, waving a hand at the rest of the gymnasium walls. “They’re just regular old walls. And these can.”

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