Curriculum Based on The Boston Marathon for Middle Schoolers

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An interdisciplinary curriculum based on the Boston Marathon for middle schoolers is showing students the history and spirit of the event from ancient Greece to the streets of Boston.

The marathon-based curriculum, dubbed “Desire to Inspire,” which will bring aspects of the 26.2-mile run into each discipline, is the brainchild of Hopkinton Middle School health and physical education teacher Debra Pinto.

Pinto said the curriculum is, in part, an attempt to move beyond the terrorist bombings at last year’s Boston Marathon that killed three people and injured hundreds.

“After what happened in Boston last year, I wanted a way to bring the spirit of the Marathon into our curriculum,” said Pinto. “We needed to move forward and tap into the positive spirit.”

Pinto and a group of teachers and administrators in Hopkinton have been meeting at 6:45 each Friday morning since fall to come up with a blueprint for bringing the Boston Marathon and all the lessons it has to offer into classrooms.

In Math class, students will use Boston Marathon finish times from past races to make various calculations.

Science students will learn about the effect endurance training has on the human body, and how nutrition can affect performance.

Curriculum Based on The Boston Marathon for Middle Schoolers

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And history teachers will make a connection between the ancient Greeks’ battle for freedom at Marathon and the fight for freedom that is the backdrop of the race started each Patriots Day at the center of town.

The idea is not only to bring the lessons of the marathon into the classroom to teach 21st-century thinking, but also to create a school community through enrichment programs, guest speakers, fund-raisers, competitions, and sports.

The curriculum Pinto and other teachers have developed will soon be used as a model that teachers anywhere can copy.

“The idea is that we wanted to share it with schools along the marathon route from Hopkinton to Boston, and then share it with the rest of the world,” Pinto said.

Karen White, who specializes in elementary and secondary education curriculum instruction at the state Department of Education, said she thinks that’s exactly what might happen.

White said Pinto was able to see units developed by other teachers on the education department’s website to use as a model.

“Teachers can develop curriculum,” said White. “Show them how, and give them the resources, and we now have a wonderful model that we’re hoping can be added to the repertoire of what’s available.”

The hope is that the Hopkinton marathon curriculum will inspire lessons that reverberate beyond the middle school classrooms.

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Curriculum Based on The Boston Marathon for Middle Schoolers

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