Physical education teachers at Glenwood, Nebo, Old Fort and West Marion elementary schools kicked off the school year with a Walk Across America Challenge.

Students walked and mapped the distance on a United States map with the goal of collectively walking across America over a 10-week period. Each student was able to contribute by walking and then adding miles from each classroom to a total for the entire school. A display charted the distance walked to generate student interest.

Walking is one easy way to help children incorporate exercise into their daily routine and create a lifelong habit. Walking is one of the healthiest, safest and easiest ways to begin a fitness program and can be a big step toward improving your health.

Students celebrated the end of their walking challenge just before the holiday break by collectively walking 22,883 miles or 8.72 trips across America. Individual school results are: Old Fort Elementary 8,864 miles, Nebo Elementary 5,110 miles, Glenwood Elementary 6,909 miles and West Marion Elementary 2,000 miles.

Jeff Tilson, PE teacher at Old Fort Elementary said, “The walking challenge was a great chance for the kids to challenge themselves and their class. Each class got to watch their team’s logo move across the U.S. map and back. The classroom teachers incorporated the activity into their geography and math lessons and they liked the way exercise made it easier for students to focus on learning in the classroom.”

Victoria Taylor, Glenwood third-grade teacher said, “My third-graders were a lot more motivated to be active at recess. They were excited to compete with each other to see who could do the most laps.”

The Walk Across America Challenge received materials and support from Active Routes to School a grant program thorough NC Division of Public Health and NC DOT Safe Routes to School.

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