Carter in the classroom

Colleyville Gym Goes High Tech, Blurs the Line Between Academics, Athletics

Heading back to school often means getting familiar with upgrades and changes made to the curriculum, and sometimes the physical building, over the summer months.

Students at O.C. Taylor Elementary in the Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District said the changes to the gym were more than just a new coat of paint.

"We walked in and were like, 'Whoa,'" said student S.J. Barker.

Suspended from the gym ceiling were electronic devices that included a speed camera, light and sound board, and projection device. Together they all make up an interactive gym wall called, Lu.

It's kinda of like an amped up Nintendo Wii.  There are preloaded games which are mostly academic in nature, but the only way to interact with the system is to use your body.

"I really get my heart pumping while using it," said student Addison Gormley.

Students had to answer math problems in drill-like fashion, tossing rubber balls at the wall to lock in their solution to the math problems, or improve their spelling.

Physical Education teacher Jason Mester said the system helps bring academics into the gym, and keeps the students engaged and learning.

"It helps me take what we've been doing and raise it to the next level," said Mester. "We're also reaching students who may not be as athletic and getting them moving."

The system comes with a $12,500 price tag. It's one of the first in the nation and was paid for by the Parent Teacher Association at O.C. Taylor.

"It works for everyone, whether you're into basketball or not," said student Bridge Borecki.

Students not only get amped up using the system, but it's also used to ground them before they head back to class.

There are yoga and mediation exercises to help calm students and send them back to their traditional academic classrooms ready to learn.

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