STEM in PE – The Mathematics of a Faster Mile

[PE teacher Ms. Shelley even finds ways of incorporating science, technology, engineering and mathematics into her class.  Here is what Ms. Shelley had to say about it.]

For years I have tried to explain to my students that if they ran the mile outside of the designated path, they would actually be running more than a mile. So today we began Phase One of our PE project:  The Mathematics of a Faster Mile

Step 1  Students began by estimating how many steps that it would take to walk around the school while staying in the designated mile path.

Step 2  They were to walk it three times and record their steps each time they completed a lap with chalk. The students found that it was very hard to keep up with that many steps which led to the next phase of the  project.

Step 3 During this step they began to engineer ways to keep track of the steps.  An example is that one group marked every 100 steps with sticks then back tracked and counted them while they collected their sticks.

Step 4  Next, students were asked to find their average steps per lap.

Step 5  After recording their average they then had to walk one more lap. This last lap was to be walked on the far outside perimeter of the track. When this was completed and written next to their average for the mile they noticed a drastic difference.

The best part of this project was that 100% of the 4th grade improved their mile times.  Some of them improved as much as two minutes!


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