Want Smarter Kids with More Brain Cells? Give Them Daily Physical Education in School!

I’ve become a big fan of the TedTalks and TedxTalks series of public lectures as a way to learn about the latest information on dozens of different topics. I recently found a lecture on the potential of quality daily physical education in our schools. This talk discussed the ability to not only improves students’ health and behavior, but also their ability to learn.

This talk was conducted by Paul Zientarski, a physical educator at Naperville Central High School in Illinois. This school participated in an international math and science test called the Timms test and scored number one in the world in science, and number six in math. They also happen to engage all students in quality daily physical education.

Mr. Zientarski describes how a Harvard researcher conducted a study on Naperville High School and discovered that new learning doesn’t build new brain cells. However, exercise does. In simpler terms, at Naperville HS, daily physical education classes were making new brain cells and the academic classes were filling those new brain cells with knowledge.

The video also gives a brief description of Naperville’s QDPE program. It includes new technology, such as the use of heart rate monitors to individually evaluate how hard students were working. Students are tested based on individual improvement rather than the ability to perform sports skills. As wide range of activities are introduced and traditional team sports are taught, but through small-sided games, with participation as the goal.

Not only has academic performance improved school-wide, so has behavior and childhood obesity levels.

I can’t think of a better way for physical educators to fire up for the new school year than by watching this 14 minute video. Have a great year!



Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]quality daily physical education,pe and academics,physical education and academic achievement>[/tags]

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