Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Healthy Cowboy Challenge

We are starting our semester project in the next few weeks.  The Healthy Cowboy Challenge has students in charge of creating a healthy lifestyle for teacher on our campus. Students work in teams of 4-5 with one teacher/educator/administrator who volunteered to participate. Students find a community partner in the medical field to mentor them and provide guidance throughout the entire process.  Some groups find personal trainers, dieticians, and other professionals to help give advice as well.  Some students skyped with their professional contact during class, while others met outside of class.  Some professionals actually came to class and met with the teams a few times during the project. 

Students monitor the clients blood pressure, weight, hydration level, measurements, flexibility, and BMI for 12 weeks.  Each Friday, the clients come to class for their weigh in and meet with their team.  The team provides them with one weeks worth of a healthy menu and a work out program that is designed to meet the clients needs. Students develop incentives and provide motivation to their client each week. 

This project covers a large number of my objectives for the year, but many other topics come up along the way.  We start with the muscular system and effective methods of exercise.  Next is the cardiovascular system and how obesity and sedentary lifestyles alter heart function.  Digestion and nutrition are a huge portion of this project as well.  It is easy to tie in multiple objectives.  

As for the technology involved... we use the iPads to monitor the vitals with digital blood pressure cuffs.  We use a Google spreadsheet to keep track of all the data each week.  The document is shared with me, the group members, and the client so they can see their progress.   Clients track their food and exercise intake with My Fitness Pal app and they can 'friend' their group so the students can analyze diets each week and provide suggestions for improvement. We had groups do various things to maintain communication with their client throughout the week - from developing Pinterest boards of healthy recipes to creating a blog to journal, students were very creative and I left it entirely up to them.  Grading this wasn't so easy, but definitely worth it.

Here is a video of our results from last year.  This year we have 28 teachers signed up ready to start in about two weeks! 

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