Sometime soon, students coming to Mario Nava's physical education classes at Sunset and Northridge elementary will start their PE classes by strapping on what looks like a watch.
“Almost every class will attach a heart rate monitor that looks like a watch,” Nava said. “It will track their heart rate at all times. As they are moving through PE they can check their heart rate and immediately know where they are at — if they need to get moving a little bit or slow down a little bit.”
The plan is to purchase the monitors in November, thanks not only to fund-raising efforts at each school but also a $2,300 grant from the Kansas Health Foundation-Newton Fund administrated by the Central Kansas Community Foundation.
The fundraisers at the schools and grants raised more than $7,000 for the project.
“The heart is huge … I wanted to stress the importance of taking care of yourself and living a healthy, active lifestyle,” Nava said.
The heart rate monitor on each student's wrist can be scanned by a base station connected to a computer. That can send information to teachers and parents. Students' daily efforts can be recorded, stored over time and used to analyze the effectiveness of activities in the classroom.
“It can be instantly sent to students, teachers and parents if they sign up for that option,” Nava said. “They can see how active they were. … It is a learning tool for students to see how important it is to stay healthy and maintain an active lifestyle — not just while you are young but as you get older."
The school district will own 28 wrist heart rate monitors, a charging station, a classroom reader for data and a three-year software license.
“It is state of the art,” Nava said. “We will be the third or fourth school in the state to have this. This is new technology that I think that every school, if they have the funds available, should have.”