"Physically active learning" (Vetter, O'Conner, O'Dwyer, Orr, 2018) is an emerging instructional paradigm that increases both physical fitness and mastery of academic content while also increasing student engagement. Students report increased engagement in mathematics, a stronger sense of accomplishment, and an overall enhanced readiness to learn after engaging in physically active learning. Furthermore, students report having more fun when doing math outside and that they play outside more often after school when engaging in physically active learning at school. (Harvey, Pearson, Sanzo, Lennon, 2017)
There are multiple findings that support the integration of physically active learning and frequent movement breaks througout the school day. Martin and Murtagh (2017) showed a significant increase in overall daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in elementary school children. Given the negative effects of a sedentary life-style, improving the overall fitness of our youth is of primary concern. Goh, Fu, Brusseau and Hannon (2018) found that student on-task behavior maintained at baseline in classrooms with movement integration activities whereas the classrooms without the intervention showed a significant decrease in student on-task behavior. Riley, Lubans, Holmes and Morgan (2016) also found that the integration of physical activity increased student on-task behavior and did not sacrifice academic performance.
Given the mounting evidence to support physically active learning and movement breaks in the classroom, it is vital that teachers develop a bank of shared activities that can easily be implemented inside and outside of the classroom. It is my hope that this website will serve as a springboard of ideas that educators can use, adapt and share with other educators. Move-it-Math is just a starting point.