How I used In the Zone in the classroom…

From Strength to Strength

From Strength to Strength

I used the In the Zone kit with my top set Year 9 as we had some spare time after completing coursework and it seemed ideal to use the time to engage the group with some practical cross curricular science activities.

We tried the Strength to Strength activities as they had studied breathing and respiration earlier in the year and I didn't want to revisit the subject again.  The In the Zone activities seemed like an ideal way to introduce the students to topics they would encounter later in their GCSE course.

I liked the look of the lessons as shown on the website, so I used these as the basis for my two practical lessons, with the students completing activities A-D over two lessons, following up with a lesson analysing the results of the experiments.

In the first lesson, the students completed the activity and recorded data in small groups, with the intention of collating a class set for analysis in the third lesson. I think when I do these activities again (and I know I will) I will set up a laptop station at the front of the room for the students to record their data straight into a spreadsheet - this would give them a much more accessible way to look at the class results. We could even set it up to create a graph as the data is input, watching it grow and identifying immediate trends.

For the second lesson I was lucky enough to be able to convince a colleague from the PE department to join in the lesson.  This reinforced the cross curricular links for the students, but also meant that we were able to discuss the benefits of different muscle fibres for different athletes in more depth using her expertise.  My colleague was also a fantastic practical example of the difference between fast and slow twitch muscles - as a discus thrower who competed at national level, she was able to show students the stark differences between strength and endurance and why she'll never be a long distance runner.  She also gave a wonderful demonstration of how we use multiple muscle groups when we exercise, showing students that from a standing jump, using her arms to propel her forwards nearly doubled the length that she could jump.

To conclude each of the practical lessons, students looked at different British Olympic athletes, suggesting the different muscle groups that would be important for the athlete, the type of muscle they thought the athlete had and what training the athlete could do to improve their muscles. This reflection was really important for the students - it showed them that what they were learning about had real application, rather than just being a bit of fun in the classroom.

We didn't get as far as uploading our results to the website, but we compared the trends in our results to those shown in the national data - the students were pleased to see that they weren't that different to the rest of the country!

I'm looking forward to using these resources in the future - although they are ideal in the run up to the 2012 Olympics, they have real legacy and I'm already planning to use all the activities much more next year.

By PGCE student Dr Sarah Pannell 

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Take It Further

If you've enjoyed In the Zone, here are some ways to extend your In the Zone experience; places to learn more about science and movement; and links to related information.

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