Date of Award
Master of Science
Physical activity is related to better academic performance and prevention of childhood obesity. Classroom-based physical activities, based on recent research studies, seem to target both areas successfully. Move for Thought (M4T) is a recently developed kit that integrates physical activities into academic lessons in the classroom. This thesis is the first to examine the kit's impact on children's motivation and math performance. The study aimed to see (a) if eight weeks of M4T integrated with math, compared to traditional lessons (control), would elicit a gain in math performance and (b) if the basic psychological needs in math (autonomy, relatedness, and competence, based on Self-Determination theory) were perceived satisfied and would predict math performance. Seven fourth grade teachers utilized M4T (N = 106) and seven fifth grade classes did traditional lessons (N = 118). Teacher log entries indicated that intervention classes used the M4T kit an average of 20-25 minutes per week. Student's overall motivation in math as well as a timed math test was completed pre and post intervention period for both groups. Need satisfaction from the implementation of the M4T activities was also measured at the culmination. Results showed that the improvement in math performance for the M4T group was significantly higher (time x group interaction; F=17.51, p = .000) compared to the control group. Students' perceived competence for math in general positively and significantly predicted math performance after the implementation period (β = .42, p = .000). Subsequent intervention analysis of need satisfaction specifically for the classroom-based physical activity group showed that perceived competence toward M4T significantly predicted (β = 0.22, p = 0.004) post-test math performance above the contribution of pre-test math needs satisfaction. The results showed that integrated physical activity with math in the classroom can improve math test scores directly as well as through higher perceived competence. Results demonstrate that M4T can be beneficial for both teachers (who strive to meet the constantly increasing standards for performance) and students (who struggle to maintain high motivation and learn effectively). As a new kit and a new approach, further exploration needs to be conducted about its usability.
Miriam Ann Blom Skrade
Skrade, Miriam Ann Blom, "Integrated classroom physical activity: Examining perceived need satisfaction and academic performance in children" (2013). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 13366.