The Kilometre Challenge

Lockdown. Distance Learning. Home office. If we are completely honest, most of us probably haven’t moved a lot during the past months, although we know that physical activity is pivotal for a healthy body and mind, even more so during times like these.

To motivate our secondary students, our Physical Education teachers came up with a fun challenge to engage them during distance learning. “Contemporary education and certainly the IB often speak of putting learning into a 'context'. In PE lessons, the context we often create is a game or competition, as this makes it real and it means something to the students. When we can all playfully compete against each other, we might feel more motivated to take on challenges. We encourage our students to go out, be active and limit screen time as much as possible.”

And they did. Our students got out cycling, running, biking, even ice skating to clock as many metres as possible for their grade. After each activity, the students tracked their distance and time on a Google Sheet to keep a record of their achievements and boost the motivation of their peers. To keep the distances in relation, walking and running kilometres were counted more times compared to activities like biking.

To give our secondary students enough time, the challenge was conducted during the winter holidays. This inspired some students to add more wintery activities like skiing and sledding to get their distances in and have fun while doing so. We loved to see our community so active as they conquered some low temperatures in the snow.

The Head of the Secondary PE Department, Chris Wegkamp, told us a bit more about the idea behind the “Kilometre Challenge”:

“When our daily routines are highly impacted, like now during COVID times, we find it often hard to create new, positive, habits and routines. We know how important that is, as all humans are creatures of habit. One of the positive things the students are now learning being confined to their homes, is that they are given the chance to create new, positive and healthy habits. In PE class we encourage the students to do a daily activity, whether it is a home workout, a walk, run or anything else, so that this new habit can root itself into the brain of a developing teenager and have a life-long impact. At VIS, our mission is to empower students to be successful in an ever-changing environment. This environment is changing as we speak and creating positive habits will lead to being adaptable at whatever they face. Our students are doing an amazing job at keeping on top at tracking their work and sharing that with the teachers. Some of them even get creative (see photo).”

Vienna International School’s mission mirrors this effort for lifelong learning in every discipline and we are grateful for teachers like Mr. Wegkamp, who create fun challenges and keep the students involved even when they are at home. We encourage you to do the same and see the amazing results with your very own “Kilometre Challenge”.