One of the findings from a recent study from the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports is that children improve at mathematics when the instruction given to them involves engaging their own bodies. It also showed that children require individualized learning strategies.
Source: Science Daily
Researchers from the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports investigated the effect of various types of primary school mathematics instruction. They studied whether different types of mathematics strategies changes the way children solves mathematical problems.
The results of their study showed that, many children improve at math when their bodies are engaged when being instructed. The math instruction should be individualized as well.
According to Jacob Wienecke, the head researcher and Associate Professor from the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, “The children learn more if they move and use the whole body to learn. Compared to previous studies which demonstrated that intense physical activity could improve learning outcomes, we have been able to show that lower intensity activities are just as effective, or even more effective, as long as movement is integrated into the topic at hand.”
Just after six weeks of the study, all of the children who were involved in the study improved their scores. The test was a standardized fifty question national test. The children whose instruction included whole body activities were able to perform the best, as they their performace had improved by 7.6% with almost four more correct responses than that of the baseline, also twice as much improvement as the sedentary fine motor skills group.
Individualized learning strategies are important as well.
When the children have been grouped accordingly to their pre-study math performance, the study results showed that the children who had average and and above average performance are the once who benefitted most by using the whole body learning technique. However, the children who weren’t very good at math prior to the study, received not much benefit from the alternative instructional methods.
Associate Professor Wienecke said that “We need to keep this in mind when developing new forms of instruction. he new school reform focuses on, among other things, the incorporation of physical activity during the school day, with the aim of improving the motivation, well-being and learning of ALL children. However, individual understanding must be taken into account. Otherwise, we risk an unfortunate combined outcome in which those who are already proficient advance, and those who have not yet mastered concepts cannot keep up.”
Currently, the researchers are now investigating which areas of the brain are involved in these alternative learning strategies. Also, the researchers will be testing the School Reform’s positive effects on other academic skills like reading.