Classroom-based physical activity and math performance: Integrated physical activity or not?
This 8-week intervention examined the effect of two different types of classroom-based physical activity on math performance in elementary school children.
Students in 4th and 5th grade (N = 560; 32 classes, 9-11 years old) from six schools were assigned to integrated physical activity (Move for Thought [M4T], n = 221), activity break (AB; n = 134), and a control group (n = 205; usual instruction) for eight weeks. Students completed a standardized math test before and after the intervention. Program fidelity was measured with a teacher daily log, recording the duration and frequency of the physical activity sessions. Linear mixed models were used for the analyses. Grade and gender were explored as moderators.
M4T group outperformed AB (p < 0.001, d = 0.44) and control groups (p = 0.013, d = 0.38). However, subgroup analyses showed that these effects were evident only in Grade 4. No gender differences were found. Intervention fidelity showed that the classroom-based physical activities (M4T and AB) were used about every other day, with higher implementation among 4th graders.
This study indicated that integrating physical activity with mathematics has stronger effects on mathematics than activity breaks and traditional instruction
This accepted article is published as Mavilidi, M.F. and Vazou, S. Classroom‐based physical activity and math performance: Integrated physical activity or not?. Acta Paediatrica. Accepted Article (2021). Doi:10.1111/apa.15860. Posted with permission.