After discussing the positive effects of exercise on student learning with EMCC's fitness and wellness director, Lyle Bartlett, I employed a rigorous walking schedule for a minimum of 15 minutes at the beginning of class in one of my statistics courses while another section served as the control group where no class exercise took place. Less than 15% of students in both groups self-reported exercising more than two times per week making groups comparable. I used an independent samples t-test to compare mean quiz scores from the treatment (e.g., those who walked) and control groups. The treatment group had significantly higher quiz scores (M=76.62, SD=11.66) compared to the control group (M=70.24, SD=11.64), t(44)=1.84, p<.05, one-tailed, d=.55. Further, treatment students reported feeling more energized than those in the control group and the time spent walking allowed for students to strengthen class connections. Treatment students also reported the ability to engage with the material in a setting outside of the classroom with me as the instructor as an added benefit. I will be incorporating an exercise regimen in future classes as time permits and sharing study results.
Stimulating the body to stimulate the mind is statistically significant
Tuesday, January 19, 2016 to Friday, April 15, 2016
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What a great idea Norma. I attended a Dev Edu meeting last week. Two members of the group walked around the room a few times and discussed the agenda items. The walk and talk certainly focused us and helped clear our minds. Maybe next time, we will walk outside, weather permitting.
When I initially conceived of this project, I thought about doing just that -- some brief version of the 15 minute walk. However, Lyle pointed out that you really do need at least 15 minutes in a somewhat rigorous activity, or at least that's what research in this area has shown. Thus, the 5 minute or less than 15 minutes exercises would probably not be effective. So, the challenge became taking 15 minutes of class time (which really turned into 20 minutes) so that we could spend at least 15 minutes on the actual walking. I set a timer once th walk begins and this kept us on track. Each student has taken at least one turn leading the walk and this became very interesting because there was some competitiveness as to which student could have the most challenging walk. There were stairs involved and we were able to visit almost all of the buildlings on EMCC campus, some of which my students had never visited before. As we pass by the VP and Presidents' office, for example, I pointed out who was there. I also noticed that if we didn't do our walk right away, students seemed very sluggish; they were refreshed after coming back from the walk. Granted, our class meets at 9 am so this was a feasible optoin to walk outside. Not sure if I could do this with my 12 noon class in the middle of August! So, there are limitations due to feasibility. I wouldn't be willing to give up 20 minutes from my 50 minute classes, either. Thanks for the feedback!
This is a great CATS. Thank you for the statistics as well as the idea to incorporate excercise in our courses
continously. I have always wanted to add walking for group activities. You have motivated me.
We should also do this as professionals for ourselves and with our colleagues. I enjoy my walks on campus and it helps
motivate me when I return to my office.
Thanks, Olga! This CATS has motivated me to start my running schedule again. I'm aiming to complete one 1/2 marathon in the next 6 months. I've done two in my lifetime although I have never considered myself a runner. I definitely feel a difference.
Love the idea, Norma! Sounds like a little Socratic dialogue is going on during the walk! Impressive results; suggestions for a hybrid class (which meets only 1 1/4 hours per week)?
That's the difficulty, Pete. The class that I used for walking meets Tues and Thurs from 9-11:15. We have an automatic break built in during that time frame as it was scheduled. However, this would be difficult for a class that only meets 75 minutes per week. I've thought of having exercise logs or some type of tracking (perhaps an app??) in classes where I can't spare the time, but it's challenging because it could be manipulated by students. I'm open to ideas.
This is FANTASTIC! We tried to get a learning community going between MAT091 and a fitness course. This is motivating me to try for that learning community again. Another great thing to try is to have students go to the white boards, stand and do some brain storming on the boards. Then, you can have them walk around the room to see student work. This gets them moving in class and you don't have to get them outside to move.
Thank you for sharing. I feel this is motivational to me individually as well as for my classes :-) I actually use the concept Becky mentions above in my courses having the students up and moving around the room. I believe there are so many things we can blend into our courses that can benefit our students but movement is powereful on so many levels.
This is a fantatstic cats. So many of our studetns look to be struggling with the day and not motivated to learn and getting them up and moving would be so beneficial. Thank you for sharing your results.
This is truely an example of brain stimulation and it's effect on recalling memory. There are so many benefits of having a good fitness routine. I am glad you are implementing this activity in your class. I hope students use this model with their other classes. Great job!
This is an awesome idea! You should have had your stats students run the stats on it! I wonder, were these two classes from different days of the week? I'm starting to find that my T/TH classes are doing better on exams than my M/W class.
Norma, I am impressed with your study and results. Lyle put out an all-call this week for a Fall wellness study for classrooms. I responded that I may be wanting to include my COM100 Honors Cohort in a wellness project. To add to the scholarship, perhaps the students can engage in researching the class results. I would love any ideas you might have on this. I think it has the makings of a good Honors Expo project. Thanks! Ro
Norma, great job on incorporating exercise into the curriculum!