Development, Feasibility, and Acceptability of Aim to Play, a User-Friendly Digital Application for Teacher Skills Training and Physical Education Activities for 3-5 Grade Elementary Students
Award last edited on: 4/17/2023

Sponsored Program
Awarding Agency
Total Award Amount
Award Phase
Solicitation Topic Code
Principal Investigator
Deborah Johnson-Shelton

Company Information

Saavsus Inc

1500 Valley River Drive Unit 330
Eugene, OR 97401
   (541) 484-2123
Location: Single
Congr. District: 04
County: Lane

Phase I

Contract Number: 1R43DP006743-01
Start Date: 9/30/2022    Completed: 9/29/2023
Phase I year
Phase I Amount
Childhood physical inactivity is associated with a myriad of preventable health inequities among children,including greater prevalence and more severe childhood obesity, poorer cardiovascular and bone health and lower levelsof cognitive functioning, mental health, and self-esteem. Children from low-income, minority, and rural backgrounds areparticularly vulnerable for not meeting recommended levels of health-enhancing physical activity (PA) and rely moreheavily on schools to obtain quality PA opportunities than other children. While 40 states currently have laws mandatingelementary school physical education (PE) to promote student public health objectives, most underrepresented students donot achieve adequate PE participation because teachers (both PE certified and regular classroom teachers who teach PE)have limited or no access to easy to use and low cost programmatic resources for conducting effective, evidence-based,and standards-based PE. To address these needs, the Aim to Play™ digital application ("app") program will be designedinitially for 3rd-5th grade classroom teachers who are increasingly assuming the responsibilities of PE instruction. Teachersconsistently experience PE instructional challenges due to (1) inadequate facilities, planning and teaching time, andequipment limitations; (2) varied student skill levels and experience managing student engagement; and, (3) an overalllack of instructional knowledge and training in movement and activity skills for conducting effective PE. To address thesebarriers, Aim to Play™ will work across platforms and devices, and provide simple, easy to use, evidence- and standards-based PE lesson activities that can be tailored by time, instructional setting (classroom, indoors/outdoors), grade, studentskill level, and equipment resources, with an embedded data tracking feature to assist with state mandated reporting needs.The app will be low-cost and include brief teacher skill demonstration videos for each lesson, paired with adaptableclassroom- and circuit-based (i.e. rotating activity stations) lessons for 3rd - 5th grade students with embedded musicsignaling transitions to assist with classroom organization. Teachers will access the program via digital handheld tabletdevices, online or offline, increasing accessibility for settings with poor Wi-Fi. During this Phase I SBIR, we plan to (1)use an iterative process to develop a prototype (i.e. beta) version of the Aim to Play™ app, a cross-platform, digitalprogram application designed for 3rd-5th grade classroom teachers, providing easy access to tailored, engaging classroom-or gym-based PE activities that meet the needs of teachers and students, and (2) evaluate the usability, satisfaction, andacceptability of the Aim to Play™ program in school settings, as well as fidelity of implementation, with 9 elementaryschool teachers serving diverse classrooms of low-income, rural, and/or minority children, as well as direct observation ofstudent participation in activities. If our Phase I benchmarks are met, this will support the feasibility of Phase II activities.In Phase II, we plan to modify Aim to Play™ according to feedback obtained in Phase I surveys and exit interviews,create additional program modules, and evaluate the efficacy of Aim to Play™ via a short-term randomized control trialevaluating teacher PE knowledge, self-efficacy, practices and student engagement in under-resourced schools.

Public Health Relevance Statement:
Project Narrative While 40 states currently have laws mandating elementary school physical education (PE) for students, classroom teachers are increasingly assuming instructional responsibilities of certified PE teachers with minimal to no training or supporting resources. This contributes to inadequate PE participation by students and is negatively impacting the health of our nations' children, particularly among minority, low-income, and rural youth who rely more heavily on schools for quality physical activity opportunities than other children. This project seeks to develop the Aim to Play™ digital application, a cross-platform PE program designed for 3rd-5th grade classroom teachers. This app is a response to the training/instructional needs of elementary schools for an accessible program that can be scaled to reach teachers of low- resourced schools, and underserved student populations. Results of this project will inform a subsequent Phase II project to further develop the program and test efficacy with a diverse school-based sample in a randomized control trial.

Project Terms:

Phase II

Contract Number: ----------
Start Date: 00/00/00    Completed: 00/00/00
Phase II year
Phase II Amount