Classes ‘walking’ along Erie Canal

GLOVERSVILLE – Physical education classes at Park Terrace Elementary School are using pedometers to take a “walk” along the Erie Canal.

“The use of pedometers in the physical education classroom has combined both the physical and mental aspects of learning, as well as school togetherness,” physical education teacher Eric Cheney said.

The walking program – known as the Park Terrace Pedometer Challenge Erie Canal College Tour – tracks each student’s distance traveled through steps during exercise. The total distance the entire class traveled is then charted on a wall display to let students see how far they are along the Erie Canal. The goal for the classes is to go from Albany to Lake Erie as fast as they can.

The students are keeping track of their mileage with the help of pedometers, which were available with the help of an $800 grant from Nathan Littauer Hospital and the Adirondack Rural Health Network.

Nathan Littauer’s Director of Community Education Sue Cridland said the priority of the grant was improving physical activity and nutrition.

“It’s a way to engage the children and makes them excited to be active,” Cridland said. “They really seem to be enjoying it.”

In a physical education class last week, many students were jogging or doing jumping jacks while waiting in line to keep their step count as high as possible.

“It’s fun to workout and have fun like this,” 9-year-old Trecel Stratton said while running in place. “I’m trying my best to do everything I can to win.”

Nine-year-old Kaleb Sleezer said the challenge is fun because it makes him and his friends do everything they can to get a higher number of steps.

“It’s really fun because you get to run even when you don’t have to,” Xavier Bryant added.

To help the students understand how far they have traveled along the waterway, there are 10 colleges named across the chart that serve as checkpoints.

Cheney also said tracking the classes’ miles on the map by using colleges along the way – including Fulton-Montgomery Community College and Utica College -?has brought interdisciplinary learning into the program.

There are six classes participating in the challenge. Last week, the class in the lead had traveled at about 144 miles or 288,000 steps. Other classes were approaching FMCC last week, which is about 108 miles from the starting point on the canal. Walking the entire canal will require traveling 362 miles.

Cheney said he plans to have a surprise reward for the class that reaches Lake Erie first.

“I’m not sure what [prize] it will be yet, but they definitely deserve something,” he said.

Levi Pascher covers Gloversville news. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

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