Incorporating Physical Activity Into Lessons Improves Students' Attainment

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Jumping and moving during lessons improves how well kids learn. What's great is that physical movement can be added to the school day without cutting out class time, and it actually has an academic benefit.

Kids seem to always be fidgeting or moving around in class. Children burst with energy all the time, it seems, but according to a new study, there's a reason for all the toe-tapping. Kids learn better when they move their bodies!

READ MORE: More Play, Hands-On Learning In Kindergarten Improves Academic Outcomes

A study published in British Journal of Sports Medicine found that incorporating physical activity into learning time made a significant impact on how well the students learned. Their attention was heightened and they performed better overall on educational assessments.

Teachers at the schools studied were using physical movement during instruction as a way to incorporate more exercise into their students' day without compromising instructional time. They used techniques such as having their students move in different ways to signify whether a fact is true or false, or jumping on the spot a certain number of times to answer a math question. Running from spot to spot to answer geography questions was another.

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The researchers took a meta-analysis of schools worldwide to reach their conclusions. Universally, children who moved during instruction had better learning outcomes. Children who were active focused better and followed verbal instructions more closely. At one school, the improved progress equated to four months of extra learning.

Some schools, particularly those in lower socio-economic areas, cannot afford to cut down on their instructional time. That being said, physical activity is a basic developmental need of children's. Neglecting to meet this need causes behavioral problems like hyperactivity and health problems like obesity.

With a limited number of minutes in the school day, it only makes sense that teachers would try to integrate movement into their lessons. It would seem that this not only addresses the children's need for physical activity but it also improves their academic performance. We call that a win-win!

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