Updated: Aug 7, 2020
Classrooms integrating physical activities in their lesson plans help increase math and reading scores for socially and non-socially disadvantaged students.
Socially disadvantaged children may benefit academically in math as much as their non-socially disadvantaged peers by simply being more physically active in their learning environments (Mullender-Wijnsma et al., 2019).
The researchers found that socially disadvantaged students benefit to increase math achievement scores by engaging in moderate to vigorous physical activities in classroom that integrate physical activity in their lessons. The two-year study reveals that physically active classroom lessons help socially disadvantaged students achieve math scores similar to their peers without any socio-economic disadvantages.
Throughout the two-year period, researchers compared two groups: controlled and non-controlled groups. Both groups were assessed using the One-Minute Test to assess student’s reading skills, and the Speed-Test to assess student’s math speed skills. The students assessed prior the intervention, after the intervention in the first year, and again, within a year after the second year of the intervention. After the assessment, both groups showed reading and math achievement. Additionally, socially disadvantaged students showed similar gains as non-socially disadvantaged students. No significant intervention effects between socially disadvantages students and non-socially disadvantaged students were present, indicating that intervention did not affect any groups any different.
“Physical activities help students increase their math and reading scores.”
Authors provide various explanations for the results. One, students benefit significantly the longer time-on-task they spent, consequently, the increased amount of time spent on task after the physical activity may contribute to academic achievement. Two, physical activity may trigger physical activity on the brain and causing the sensorimotor information be retained longer and deeper.
Despite the root genesis of positive effects of physical activities in students’ learning, it remains relevant to note that integration of physical activity in classroom lessons is a strong indicator of increasing reading and math achievement for socially and non-socially disadvantaged students.
Mullender-Wijnsma, M. J., Hartman, E., de Greeff, J. W., Doolaard, S., Bosker, R. J., & Visscher, C. (2019). Follow-Up Study Investigating the Effects of a Physically Active Academic Intervention. Early Childhood Education Journal, 47(6), 699-707. doi:10.1007/s10643-019-00968-y