Adding physical activity to the school day can help students to focus and engage in learning. The key is finding an effective, yet simple to execute, resource that integrates math with physical activity, thus helping improve learning outcomes.
Why Incorporate Physical Activity in Math Class?
In a recent study publicized in the Jensen Learning Newsletter, 35, 7th grade classes were exposed to a single-group, repeated crossover design where each student’s selective attention was compared between activity and no activity (Ma,et.al., 2015).
The actual activity was a four-minute, high-intensity interval activity that used whole-body actions to complement a storyline. The order of these energizer breaks were randomized and counterbalanced from control to experimental groups with a crossover design for weeks.
The results were that students made fewer errors during the test when following exercise. In supporting the priority of physical activity inclusion within schools, it was found that exercise, or a time-efficient and easily implemented physical activity break, can improve selective attention.
Studies have shown that exercise upregulates a critical compound called brain-derived neurotrophic factor. It also has shown that neurogenesis is correlated with improved learning and memory. Therefore, based upon the evidence, “there is strong support for physical activity in classrooms and academic improvement.” (Jensen Learning Newsletter, 2015).
Specialized Tools for Adding Movement to Math Concepts
Be Fit 2 Learn Skillastics® Math combines movement and creativity with math content and questioning to create a balance of learning in an atmosphere of fun! This powerful resource includes problem solving questions for core national math standards, grades 2 through 6. All grade level question cards include a symbol key placed on the front of the card. The instructor can then be selective about the grade level cards used with the entire class, or they could provide differing grade level cards to each group in the class based on the needs of his/her students.
For example, a 3rd grade teacher may pick 4th grade question cards and 2nd grade question cards along with the 3rd grade question cards. The teams can be divided based upon mathematical abilities. The teacher will know what level cards are with what group based on the symbol represented on the front of each group of question cards, but the students will never know the difference.
The movement in Be Fit 2 Learn Skillastics® Math empowers students to improve in mathematics while simultaneously enjoying being active in the context of a super fun game. Playing Be Fit 2 Learn Skillastics® Math periodically throughout the day allows students to feel energized, focused and nurture a growing sense of accomplishment in both math and physical activity.