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Students push their limits and discover how their bodies react to a variety of physical challenges in PowerPlay! This monumental, three-story installation lets students leap up and down different levels of a forty-foot tower that provides access to other areas of the exhibit.

Physical challenges include cardiovascular, balance, flexibility, and upper and lower body strength activities. Students can take it to the next level by tracking their heart rates and strength improvements, rating their experiences, and comparing performances—like real fitness athletes!

The lessons and resources presented here can be used before and after your students visit the Children's Museum of Houston. Even if you are unable to visit the Museum, these activities can be used in any classroom to explore health and fitness topics with students. Five activities are designed to be conducted prior to visiting the museum, and five after the museum visit.

Ideas for Teachers Without Access to the Museum

  1. Plan a special "field day" at your school. Prior to the event, conduct the Pre-visit lessons. After the event, use the Post-visit lessons.

  2. Create a classroom fitness plan that provides one month of activities. Help students plan a calendar with different fitness activities for each day.

  3. Participate in the President's Challenge Program for fitness.

The PowerPlay exhibit was made possible by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA), from the National Institutes of Health, and is a partnership among Baylor College of Medicine and the Children's Museum of Houston.

Complete Teacher Guide

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PowerPlay: Fitness and Physical Activity

PowerPlay fitness lessons promote student understanding, positive attitudes, and healthy behaviors related to physical activity and diet.

Individual Lessons: PowerPlay

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Activity and Exercise

Students jump over a rope in different ways and measure their performance over time. They also predict their levels of “perceived exertion” during physical exercise. 

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Body Strength

Students learn that muscles need exercise to stay strong, repetition of exercises builds strength and endurance, and that different activities improve cardiovascular health, strength, flexibility and balance.

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Heart Rate and Exercise

Students measure their prior to conducting a variety of physical activities. After conducting the activities, they measure and compare their post-exercise heart rates to their resting heart rates.

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Gravity and Muscles

Students learn about the body’s center of gravity, and how the body adjusts to the force of gravity to remain balanced.

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Walk the Talk

Students learn that physical and mental activities can be improved with practice by repeatedly walking while reciting a poem.

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Human Body Ratios

Students practice estimating and measuring in metric units, and investigate the concepts of ratio and proportion as they relate to features of the human body. 

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Body Mass Index (BMI)

Students investigate how Body Mass Index (BMI) values are calculated, and how the information can be used in research.

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Water in Your Body

Students learn how much water our bodies need each day, how it is lost, and that the water we lose must be replaced.

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Food: What Is a Calorie?

Students learn that people derive their energy from the food that they eat; that this energy is measured in a unit called a calorie; and that different foods provide different amounts of energy.

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Serving Sizes

Students estimate serving sizes of different foods and compare their estimates to serving size information provided on food package nutrition labels.

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Funded by the following grant(s)

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

PowerPlay
Grant Number: R25RR022697