Fitness for Life… So What About It?

“I used to think fitness was optional, but now I think fitness is integral to my life.” – Anoushka, Grade 10, Graded School

Grade 10 students were asked to uncover their thoughts and ideas about fitness by performing the thinking routine, 3-2-1 Bridge. The purpose of this thinking routine is for students to connect their initial understandings to new thinking after they have learned some information. When new information is gained, bridges are built that connect new ideas to prior understanding. This in turn empowers students to understand and connect their own thinking.

“Fitness is freedom to be able to do anything you want with your body.” – Sofia, Grade 10, Graded School

Throughout this process, students were asked to keep in mind our enduring understanding and essential questions for fitness.

Enduring Understanding
  • People’s decisions and actions affect their level of fitness, and in turn, influences their health
Essential Questions
  • What is fitness?
  • How can you maintain physical activity for lifelong health?
  • What is our responsibility regarding our fitness and health?

The following examples demonstrate how students’ understanding about fitness has developed over time. After the initial 3-2-1 Bridge, students connected their understanding of a fitness-related article to our essential questions for this unit and wrote a reflection synthesizing the new information learned. Based on the information they have gained, students performed another 3-2-1 Bridge.


Anoushka’s 3-2-1 Bridge

Initial Responses
1. What are 3 WORDS that you connect to fitness?
cardiovascular endurance, heart rate and FIT (frequency, intensity, time)

2. What 2 QUESTIONS regarding fitness are you pondering?
How can one increase their level of endurance?
How does one tailor a fitness program that targets all the muscles and their strengthening?

3. Write a METAPHOR or SIMILE describing fitness.
Fitness is like a bird trapped in a cage. If you keep it in, it is a meek creature, but once you let it go, it soars into the sky, healthy and free.

Synthesizing of New Information
I think fitness is the lifelong preservation of our bodies. We work with our bodies to understand them better and help ourselves have a healthier happier life. Fitness is something that we should live with lifelong because as we get older, our bodies find it harder to put in effort. If we take care of our bodies from an early age, then, when we get older, fitness would be a matter of adjusting to our effort level. Keeping our bodies fit lifelong is our responsibility. This is because our bodies work hard to accommodate our lifestyles, so we should train our bodies become stronger and make it easier to carry out daily tasks, such as breathing. Keeping our bodies fit lifelong is also a very easy matter. According to our daily tasks, we should adjust how hard we work out. We should also keep in mind that as we age, our maximum heart rates come down, so we should have workouts that help us reach our target heart rate, but not go over it. This is why I think that one of the fitness articles I found online, about the Fitness Age Test, is very important. This is a test that helps us find out the age of our bodies. Scientists have conducted several tests and taken a lot data to make an online test that helps us determine the age of our bodies. The lesser our age, the better shape we are keeping our bodies in. I think this is an important step in lifelong fitness because it helps us see how well we are treating our bodies and helps us understand how to incorporate lifelong fitness into our lives so that we can keep our bodies “younger.”

New Responses
1. What are 3 WORDS that you connect to fitness?
health, endurance, FIT

2. What 2 QUESTIONS regarding fitness are you pondering?
How do we increase our level of fitness so we can keep our body at it’s youngest possible age throughout our life?
What are some ways we can do fitness which do not involve the conventional form of exercise (something for when one gets older or injured)?

3. Write a METAPHOR or SIMILE describing fitness.
Fitness is like medicine, you may not like it, but you will need it all your life.

4. BRIDGE – complete the sentence starter: I used to think fitness was … , but now I think fitness is … .
I used to think fitness was optional, but now I think fitness is integral to my life.


Sofia’s 3-2-1 Bridge

Initial Responses
1. What are 3 WORDS that you connect to fitness?
lifestyle, healthy, sport

2. What 2 QUESTIONS regarding fitness are you pondering?
Does fitness help keep a constant weight?
Does fitness help you live longer?

3. Write a METAPHOR or SIMILE describing fitness.
Fitness is freedom to be able to do anything you want with your body.

Synthesizing of New Information
At first I thought that fitness was just having a fit body, being slim and having strong muscles. Now though, I realize that fitness isn’t all about the physical aspect, but also about the mental aspect as it takes dedication and perseverance to keep doing activities. Furthermore, leading a healthy lifestyle means being comfortable with body image, having a healthy diet and keeping up with a regular fitness routine. Fitness is the condition of being fit and healthy. Creating a routine that is simple yet pushes you can help you maintain it for the rest of your life. Once you have established this program and you get used to it, it gets easier to follow it. My responsibility now is to keep following the training program and to keep a realistic view of what I can do and will be able to do thanks to the program. Another thing I’ve learned through doing the workout in class, is that doing it with friends helps me stay motivated as it makes it more fun. In order to reach my fitness goals I need to push myself every week, to keep doing the exercises and to keep improving once they get easier. Keeping fit means constantly pushing your body to improve, but at the same time knowing your limits. Also, since I noticed doing it with other people helps, I should try to find friends and try to establish a time when we can meet and work out together.

New Responses
1. What are 3 WORDS that you connect to fitness?
exercise, routine, body image

2. What are 2 QUESTIONS regarding fitness are you pondering?
Should the amount of working out you do change as you grow older?
How important is diet if you work out regularly?

3. Write a METAPHOR or SIMILE describing fitness.
Fitness is balance in your life.

4. BRIDGE – complete the sentence starter: I used to think fitness was … , but now I think fitness is … .
I used to think fitness was just exercise and being slim and muscled, but now I think fitness is knowing your body and its limits and knowing how to work it to improve its skills.

I wonder if the shift in these students’ thinking is visible? I wonder in what ways their new responses show growth in their understanding about fitness?


Final thoughts…

Learning experiences that challenge and push our students’ thinking in new directions set the stage for greater appreciation of multiple perspectives. Sharing their initial and new thinking with each other further emphasizes this point; thus, students’ ability to articulate and explain the shift in their thinking strengthens.

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