Science of Us looks over recent research showing that schoolkids learn better when they move around in class:
“Kids aren’t meant to sit still all day and take in information,” Steve Boyle, a co-founder of the National Association of Physical Literacy, told the Times. His organization has developed a collection of short videos, or “BrainErgizers,” that lead kids through quick bursts of physical activity — providing opportunities to “breathe, relax, recharge, and refocus,” as the NAPL website puts it. According to the Times, the videos have been used in classrooms and Boys & Girls Clubs in 15 different states.
Research suggests they may be on to something. As Science of Us has previously noted, exercise can act as a memory boost. And a study published last year in Pediatrics found that allowing time for physical activity during lessons helped elementary-school students to do better in both math and language lessons; on average, those in the movement group were roughly four months ahead of the control group in their learning by the end of the two-year experiment.
Those activity bursts don’t have to take time away from class, either: In a 2015 Washington Post column, Aleta Margolis, director of the Center for Inspired Teaching, explained that, with a little creativity, movement can be incorporated directly into teaching: “When students time each other running for 30 seconds, they get to practice using basic time measurements,” she wrote.