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  • Writer's picturedrlynnekenney

5 Active Classroom Ideas to Improve Learning and Achievement

Updated: Feb 3, 2023

We're keeping students' brains thinking and bodies moving to improve learning, well-being, and achievement this school year.

Listen in with Matt Levine, Brand Manager with Moving Minds as we discuss five ways to increase activity in your classroom. Learn about Active Seating, Movement Mazes, Heavy Work, Wobble Seats, and Brain Primers to keep your students alert, engaged, and ready to learn.

As parents, educators, clinicians we can help our students return to and engage in school by understanding the relationships between cognition, achievement, and physical health. Science shows us that many of our students are more attentive, encode better in memory and find school more enjoyable when they are provided opportunities to move while they learn.

Moving While You Learn Can Include:

  • Active engagement with classroom lessons

  • Active seating while listening to academic content (Standing desks, wobble stools, seat cushions)

  • Active movement while encoding and remembering academic content (Standing, moving, actively responding to lessons)

  • Active movement 5-10 minute breaks to help students re-alert (Brain Primers, Brain Breaks, Heavy Proprioceptive Activities)

  • Participating in rhythmic coordinative cognitive physical movement to engage self-control, attention, memory, and cognitive flexibility (Salsa, Samba, Brain Primers, CogniMoves)

Benefits of Classroom Physical Activity

  • Physically fit children show higher levels of academic achievement than their lessor fit peers.

  • As little as 30 seconds of vigorous activity can increase oxygenation in the brain resulting in a more alert student. We prefer rhythmic coordinative movement as it is organizing to the brain and body.

  • 5-20 minutes of Classroom Activity can improve attention, memory, and self-control.

  • Physical activity triggers the release of neurochemicals that favor learning and memory.

  • The release of neurotransmitters fosters positive mood states, lowers stress, and improves learning and memory.

  • Cooperative physical activity improves classroom engagement, motivation, and caring for others.

  • Acute (brief vigorous) exercise is one of the most effective behavioral techniques for self-regulation of mood.


Basso, J. C., & Suzuki, W. A. (2017). The Effects of Acute Exercise on Mood, Cognition, Neurophysiology, and Neurochemical Pathways: A Review. Brain plasticity (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 2(2), 127–152.

Infantes-Paniagua, Á., Silva, A. F., Ramirez-Campillo, R., Sarmento, H., González-Fernández, F. T., González-Víllora, S., & Clemente, F. M. (2021). Active School Breaks and Students' Attention: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis. Brain sciences, 11(6), 675.

Mandolesi, L., Polverino, A., Montuori, S., Foti, F., Ferraioli, G., Sorrentino, P., & Sorrentino, G. (2018). Effects of Physical Exercise on Cognitive Functioning and Wellbeing: Biological and Psychological Benefits. Frontiers in psychology, 9, 509.

Watson, A., Timperio, A., Brown, H., Best, K., & Hesketh, K. D. (2017). Effect of classroom-based physical activity interventions on academic and physical activity outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The international journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity, 14(1), 114.

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Feb 03, 2023


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