How I used In the Zone in the classroom…
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
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
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
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