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Mercy High School combines science, physical education

Posted at 7:19 AM, Nov 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-17 08:24:48-05

A new grant at Mercy High School has girls using heart monitors to combine science, technology and physical education. 

First, the students get warmed up. Then, they get plugged in. In this class, 19 students go through an exercise circuit for short bursts of time, but instead of watching the clock, they're watching the color of a heart rate monitor on their wrist. 

"I thought it was going to be really cool and a really great way to push ourselves to get better fit in P.E. class," sophomore Carina Muse said. 

Mercy physical education teacher Chris Dunn got the idea after a workshop. Just last year, Nebraska and national physical education standards changed. Instead of focusing on sports, P.E. classes were now to focus on health-related fitness. 

"You look at the cost of health care, many of that is related to life style related diseases," Dunn said. "So if we can give the kids the tools and the ability to take care of those issues before they happen, then they are making a big impact on their future lives."

The monitors have difference parameters based on a student's data, things like height and weight, so each monitor is tailored exactly to them. 

The students are not graded based on their heart rate in the class. However, one thing that is happening with all of the data is a crossover to other classes. 

"They're doing a cross curricular activity with the health class," Dunn said. "They are actually prototyping apps that would use that data to solve real world problems."