Why Kids Need to Move, Touch and Experience to Learn
When students use their bodies in the learning process, it can have a big effect, even if it seems silly or unconnected to the learning goal at hand. Researchers have found that when students use their bodies while doing mathematical storytelling (like with word problems, for example), it changes the way they think about math. “We understand language in a richer, fuller way if we can connect it to the actions we perform,” said Sian Beilock, professor of psychology at the University of Chicago. Consider this word problem: Two hippos and two alligators are at the zoo. Pete the zookeeper feeds them at the same time. In an experiment on third graders, students were divided into two groups. The answer: “Kids who acted out the story did better on this problem,” Beilock said. “What was important was matching the words with specific action; that led to enhanced learning,” Beilock said. This area of study, called “embodied learning,” is not new to many educators.
Related: PE/Brain Breaks/Movement
• Classroom Hacks
• Active learning
• Educational Insights 2