A recent study in Denmark has concluded that children can improve their math scores on tests if movement based learning is incorporated into their classrooms. The experiment conducted showed that there was a significant difference between the scores of children who performed various motor based learning activities and those that did not.
The study was done in a six week long period with one hundred and sixty five children participating. These children were in the first grade with an average age of seven and a half years old and all were from Copenhagen. In order to compare the math scores for each individual, three math tests were given at three different times during and after the experiment. The first test was given out immediately to the children as a baseline, the second was given out during the experiment, and the third was given out eight weeks after the experiment had ended.
The children in the experiment were randomly placed in three different groups in order to test various methods of motor activity incorporation. The first group was the control group and thus had no motor activity incorporated into their learning activities. The second group was the fine motor movement group, which performed math problems while manipulating LEGO bricks. The third group was the gross motor movement group, which performed activities such as hopscotch while solving math problems.
The experiment results were that all groups did improve their mathematical skills, but that the children in the gross motor movement group had the greatest improvement overall. The fine motor movement group came in second and the control group showed the least improvement. A sub group analysis was also performed using the information of the first math test given before the experiment was conducted. This analysis showed that children who initially performed normally on math test, performed the best when placed in the gross motor movement group, and that children who initially performed poorly did not make significant improvements.
From these results, the Danish article concludes that incorporating motor movement into learning activities can improve children’s math scores and that gross motor movement can result in the most improvement for children who perform normally on math tests. However, low math performers do not show as much improvement in gross motor movement activities.
Since the children in this experiment were allocated into random groups the causal claims this article makes are supported, but these results can only be attributed to Danish children in the first grade. While this experiment is insightful and is very well conducted, this does not mean that all children of varying ethnicities and ages can increase their mathematical skills by incorporating motor movement into their lessons. The sample size was also quite small and could contribute to skewed results. Overall the research is very impressive despite these problems and leads to some important questions we should be asking ourselves about our education system and whether or not we should investigate further into the matter. The results here could lead to some potentially important developments in education and thus I think a series of follow up studies should be done.
Overall I did not find writing a summary about the research article that difficult. All of the available information was right at my fingertips and with enough time I could understand it quite readily. Even though some aspects of the given information in the research article are well beyond my understanding, it is not hard to understand the main points of the research article and report them in terms that are easy to understand. The portion of this project that I found most difficult was being able to get a high enough word count. The news article I had went up to 978 words and I was finding it difficult to get to 500 because the main points of this research article were not that difficult to understand. The information I chose to leave out was mostly the statistical analysis portions because the formulas used were very long and difficult and I did not think I could report them properly. I think that the important information to get across to the audience is the results of the experiment and the methods used, and so those were the portions I focused on. I don’t hate journalist for trying to do their jobs or anything and I never did beforehand, but now I am more than skeptical of any news article I come across. At times I could see how doing this on a daily basis could become hard and slip ups can happen, but not reporting hardly more than two sentences pertaining to the methods of an experiment covered in a news article is just shameful.