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Gym Classes No Longer Just Physical: Teachers Aim to Add Math and Science

Update Date: Feb 19, 2013 11:38 AM EST
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Gym class may no longer be the coveted fun time of the school day as teachers plan on adding educational portions to P.E. class.  According to the New York Times, Everglades Elementary school in West Palm Beach, FL has already implemented this new and controversial method, in which children can be tested on anything from vocabulary to math and science while exerting energy.

Ms. Patelsky, head of the physical education class at the school was prompted by the school's desire to increase math and science scores. Recent budget cuts and new standards for these elementary schools also placed stress on these schools in finding ways to increase academia scores without lengthening the school day. Instead of cutting or shortening P.E. class, gym teachers and school officials have found an alternative way of incorporating academia into the busy school schedule. They did the unthinkable and made gym class academic.

Third graders can learn anything from vocabulary words, counting numbers, and categorizing Lego blocks into different numerical columns while throwing balls, doing drills, and playing sports.  In Ms. Patelsky's class, children learn words such as "alternate" as they do push-ups. With extra learning taking place in gym class, some parents worry about the toll it may take on the young children who see gym class as a break from work and stress.

Parents are afraid that the added curriculum will divert children from actually exercising. Child obesity remains a huge national issue and parents want gym class to stress physical activity. Parents view the extra work from gym class as time consuming and disadvantageous for these children. The extra homework assigned in these P.E. class, such as writing essays, prevent children from needed hours of exercise, and some children do not find these assignments to be helpful.  However, those who are optimistic about this new tactic see this as an opportunity for children to reinforce academia while having fun.

Other schools throughout the nation have also adapted this new gym curriculum. In the near future, the majority of children may be expected to get quizzed on vocabulary lists, food groups, simple arithmetic, and science principles while tossing dodge balls and doing running drills.

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