Monday, April 24, 2017

Cardiovascular Testing in Physical Education by Charles T. Kuntzleman

Testing in Physical Education

There are four main domains of physical education. These four are: acquisition of motor skills, physical fitness, knowledge (strategies and rules of the game; plus benefits of physical activity, how to learn motor skills and mechanical analysis of movement, to name a few) and physical activity-related personal-social skills (such as best effort, sportsmanship, cooperation and others).

Why test?

Many teachers use testing only to see if their students are making satisfactory progress. Student evaluation is just a small part of the equation, however. In fact, testing primarily concerns you and your curriculum, not only your students.

For starters, testing allows the teacher to tailor-make the curriculum. Simply put, if your students do well in the mile run/walk, but perform motor skills poorly, the instructor should increase the emphasis on teaching a variety of fundamental, object control and rhythm skills. Testing also allows the teacher to design a special program for a student not progressing as desired.

Testing also helps an instructor measure curriculum effectiveness. If the emphasis has been on throwing and catching yet the students do poorly on a throwing and catching test, something is wrong. This tells the instructor that the teaching strategies did not work or that the school does not schedule adequate time for physical education class.

Finally, testing gives motivated students incentive to become physically active.

The above reasons are much more educationally sound than testing only for grades. Viewing testing as an evaluation of teaching, learning, the curriculum and school environment is a much healthier and more holistic approach to assessment.

Cardiovascular Testing in Schools

Aerobic fitness refers to the ability of the body to pick up oxygen, transport it through the body and have the body use it. Currently, several cardiorespiratory tests are used to measure the aerobic fitness levels of youth in America's schools. Here is an evaluation of five of the more popular aerobic tests.

Mile Run/Walk

Tests cardiorespiratory fitness levels by having students run (jog or walk if necessary) one mile as fast as possible.

A one-mile course, one stopwatch and a score card and pencil for each student.

  • Very simple to give. 
  • Distance long enough to determine aerobic power rather than speed. 

  • Could be a bit longer. Students can often "gut" it out, making it a test of motivation rather than fitness. 
  • Kids can see where they finished, causing poorly performing students embarrassment. 
  • Often hard to motivate students to perform to their ability level. 

600-Yard Run/Walk

Supposedly tests cardiorespiratory fitness levels by having students cover 600 yards as fast as possible. It is one of the weakest cardiovascular tests summarized here.

A 600-yard course, one stopwatch and a score card and pencil for each student.

  • Short. 
  • Simple to deliver after the course is laid out. 
  • Good for young students, Grades 1-3 
  • Tests speed rather than aerobic power. 
  • Often difficult to lay out a course which is 600 yards long. 

Pacer (Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Run

Students run for as long as possible between two marked lines set at 20 meters apart. They navigate the distance between two marked lines, keeping pace with a series of beeps. Students can miss two beeps before they are stopped. Score is determined by how many laps a student can do.


A tape player, a PACER cassette tape, marker cones, lines measured 20 meters apart and a score card and pencil for each student.


  • Easily done indoors. 
  • Most like the treadmill test with its progressively building tempo. 

  • Requires more equipment than most other tests. 
  • Often difficult for students to learn. 
  • Can only test a few students at a time. 

20-Minute Run

Tests cardiorespiratory fitness levels by having students run as far as possible in 20 minutes.

A running course, one stopwatch and a score card and pencil for each student.

  • Very simple. 
  • Students not compared to others to the same extent as in the mile run/walk and the 600-yard run/walk. 
  • Long enough to test aerobic power rather than speed. 

  • The length of the test often scares students. 
  • Difficult to determine distance covered. 

Step Test 

Tests cardiorespiratory fitness by having the student take 24 steps per minute for three minutes in an "up, up, down, down" pattern and then count his or her heart rate for one minute. Along with the 600-yard run/walk, it is one of the weakest cardiovascular tests.

A bench 12 inches in height, metronome set at 96 beats per minute, a stopwatch, a stethoscope (carotid pulse can also be used).

  • Pulse recovery rather than a performance test. 
  • Shorter. 
  • Students not visually compared to anyone else (usually). 

  • Depends too heavily on people's pulse rates. Natural differences can change results. 
  • Some students cannot keep pace.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Discover How Fitness Finders® Can Help Tame Your Classroom!

This Fall 2017, Fitness Finders® is thrilled to introduce Zooper Safari™, a new classroom management program that educates and motivates students toward positive classroom behavior! The Zooper Safari™ curriculum pairs up-

     · 7 Zooper Behaviors
     · 7 Featured Creatures
     · 7 Different Continents

Zooper Safari™ appeals to childrens’ natural curiosity and love of animals. It actively engages kids by using a variety of lessons and reinforcement activities to connect students to the Featured Creature that displays the desired Zooper Behavior of each lesson. Students are then encouraged to transfer the Zooper Behavior to themselves. Zooper Safari™ also meets many Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Common Core Language Art Standards (CCSS), which are listed in each lesson.

Zooper Safari™ emphasizes the following important Zooper Behaviors:

 Zooper Behavior
Featured Creature/Continent
1. Have a Positive Attitude
1. Sulcata Tortoise - Africa
2. Stays on Task
2. Beaver - North America
3. Listen and Follow Instructions
3. Lipizzaner - Europe
4. Take Initiative
4. Tiger – Asia
5. Put Things in Order
5. Gentoo Penguin - Antarctica
6. Think of Others
6. Koala - Australia
7. Work with Others
7. Alpaca - South America

Don’t just take our word for it! We asked teachers to test Zooper Safari™ in their classrooms from Kindergarten through 4th grade. Here’s what they said:

The Zooper Safari™ program was a great way for my students to learn the behaviors necessary for our class to learn, have fun, and be safe on all of our kindergarten adventures.” – Chris

One day a student started complaining about something and another student pointed out to him that they were just learning about not whining or complaining.” – Cindy

I like saying-I want to see Beaver Behavior- and the kids will look over to the map and remember ‘Stay on Focus.’ That was the first one we learned and really seemed to impact them the most. They also will tell each other to ‘Stay on Focus’ when someone is getting off topic.” – Allison

“During the week that we worked on ‘Positive attitude’, I noticed less complaining in the classroom. Students who would usually tell me that something is too hard would instead ask for help to complete an assignment. When we worked on the ‘Stay on Task’ behavior, I noticed students staying on task more and completing their assignments faster. When students were off task, I could refer to the beaver and remind them of their goal to show on task behavior.” – Rebecca

Zooper Safari™ teaches foundational life and classroom behavior skills that will enable students to be successful now and in the future. Tame your classroom this year and fulfill your dream to have engaged, well-behaved, and interested students with Zooper Safari™!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Preserving the Planet: One Token at a Time

Do you ever wonder what Fitness Finders uses to make our tokens? Read on for a full explanation, straight from our manufacturing and product team.

Not Just any Plastic

According to, there are two main categories of plastic; thermosets and thermoplastics. Thermosets harden upon heating, are more rigid, and involve an irreversible chemical reaction. Thermoplastics harden upon cooling and can be reheated and reused.

Marv Moss, Head of the Manufacturing Department, stated that all of Fitness Finders plastic products are made out of thermoplastics.

“Working with thermoplastics allows us to reuse scrap plastic from the molding process,” said Marv. “We grind all scraps into pellets and use them to make future tokens.”

Marv said the re-melting process results in small breakdown of physical properties. To compensate, they add a calculated percentage of fresh plastic to each batch of reground plastic.

“By adding the fresh plastic to each reground batch, we can regrind and reuse indefinitely,” said Marv. “This reduces our waste to almost zero percent.” 

Environmental Bundle

Kellie Fairbanks, Product Manager, said Fitness Finders offers an environmental token bundle with a recycle symbol, a raindrop, a tree, a walker, a globe, and a biker. These tokens are purposed to encourage youth to establish a “green” attitude toward environmental stewardship. Fitness Finders took this “green” attitude upon themselves, and developed a special token material to fit the need.

“Several of our tokens, like the globe and the recycle symbol, are available as a biodegradable product,” said Marv.

These tokens are made of paper and other biodegradable elements that will decompose back into the environment if dropped outside.

Responsible Waste Management

In addition to re-using plastic and utilizing biodegradable material, Fitness Finders also implements responsible waste disposal practices.

Marv said whenever they change the oil of the molding machines, or catch oil from a leaking machine, they collect the oil, now unsuitable for its original purpose, and keep it in drums. Then Fitness Finders re-distributes it to a company that implements it as fuel for their waste oil heating unit.

Fitness Finders is also careful to prevent improper contaminated water disposal.

“When we come across a waste water and oil mixture, we take it to be treated.”

April is Environmental Awareness Month, which provides a great opportunity to talk about sustainability and green manufacturing. But every day at Fitness Finders, we strive to preserve the planet, one token at a time.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Rainy Day Recess: Indoor Balloon Activities

Moments before the recess bell rings, a flash of lightning streaks across the sky. Soon after, a mighty clap of thunder silences the room. The principal’s somber voice crackles over the speaker,

“Recess will be indoors today.”

Without a plan, such a scenario can be disappointing for both teachers and restless students. But all you need is a bag of balloons and a little creativity to turn it around. Read on for creative inspiration, with ideas from But first:

  • · Keep balloon hygiene in mind. Assign one inflator per balloon (no shared inflations). To encourage cooperation and interdependence, allow students to help each other tie their inflated balloons.
  • · Watch out for hyperventilation. This is CO2 depletion that can occur from the quick, full breaths used to inflate balloons. Make sure anyone feeling lightheaded takes a break and breaths slowly. As an alternative, pre-inflate the balloons. 

Catch the Balloon

Assemble the class in a circle and throw the balloon up in the air. The thrower calls a student’s name while the balloon is in the air, and the named student must catch the balloon before it hits the ground. Then, the catcher throws the balloon and calls out another name. To increase difficulty, spread students out, increasing the size of the circle.

Balloon Bop

This game is a slightly more intense version of Catch the Balloon. Assemble the same circular setup, but instead of catching the balloon, the named student must keep the balloon in the air. For even more of a challenge, instruct the student naming to also call out a body part which the named student has to use to keep the balloon in the air. 

Balloon Finger Balance

Give a balloon to each student and instruct them to balance the balloon on their finger for as long as they can. The balloon must stay stationary on the finger and not be tapped. For a competitive version, assign four balancers at a time to a balance-off in front of the rest of the class. Winners advance and balance against other group winners after everyone has had a turn. 

Balloon Juggle and Sort

After distributing one balloon per student, instruct the class to hit their balloon to keep it in the air. See how long the entire class can keep the balloons off the ground, and count off the time to the new record. After they get the hang of it, mix it up by instructing them to sort themselves based on balloon color, while bopping the balloons in the air.
Reverse Balloon Juggle and Sort

If your class gets too comfortable keeping the balloons off the ground, make them keep them off the ceiling! You will need helium for this exciting variation of balloon juggle. Also, make sure you have strings attached so you can fetch stray balloons from the ceiling. 

Balloon Ball Games

With balloons, your class can play indoor versions of the outdoor games they love. Volleyball and badminton are fun options, and with balloon ball, there is no need for a net. If the balloon touches the ground, the other student gets a point. To add a twist to this activity, spread the games throughout the classroom and intermittently announce, “slow motion!” Upon this announcement, all players must move in slow motion until another announcement is made.

Everyone else’s class may groan when indoor recess is announced, but not yours. After introducing students to the exciting possibilities of balloon games, you will be greeted with smiles and excitement the next time rain falls.

Additional Resources:

15 Fun Indoor Recess Games and Activates —National Board Certified Teacher Angela Watson provides this list of fun indoor recess options.

10 Indoor Recess Ideas — Multiple sources contribute to this inspiring list of indoor activities at