A new study of 756 students in Grades 1 to 5 shows that a mixture of six weeks of hoops and math has a positive effect on their desire to learn more, gives them an experience of heightened self-determination and increases confidence in mathematics among young people. The Basketball Mathematics study was conducted in five Danish primary and elementary schools by researchers from the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports at the University of Copenhagen.
Over the past decades, considerable attention has been paid to exploring different approaches to stimulate children’s learning. In particular, the focus has been on how physical activity, separate from learning activities, can improve cognitive performance and children’s learning. Conversely, there has been less emphasis on the potential for integrating physical activity into learning activities. The main objective of this study was therefore to develop a learning activity that integrates basketball and math and to examine how this might affect children’s motivation in math.
Increased motivation, self-determination and mastery
756 children from 40 different classes from schools in the Copenhagen area participated in the project, where about half of them – once a week for six weeks – practiced basketball math during gym class, while that the other half played basketball without math.
“During basketball math class, children were asked to collect numbers and do calculations associated with various basketball drills. An example might be to count how many times they could sink a basket three meters away from a distance of one meter, and then add up the numbers. The math and basketball elements could be adjusted based on the children’s levels, as well as whether it was addition, multiplication, or some other function that needed to be practiced, ”says Linn Damsgaard. , who writes Doctoral thesis on the link between learning and physical activity at the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports at the University of Copenhagen.
The results show that children’s motivation for mathematics integrated into basketball is 16% higher compared to learning mathematics in the classroom. Children also experienced a 14% increase in self-determination compared to classroom instruction, while basketball math increases fluency by 6% compared to classroom math instruction. In addition, the study shows that basketball math can maintain children’s motivation for math over a six-week period, while the control group’s motivation drops dramatically.
“It is widely recognized that the motivation of young people for schoolwork decreases as the school year progresses. Therefore, it is quite interesting that we do not see any decrease in motivation when children participate in schoolwork. basketball math.While we cannot explain our results with certainty, it could be that Basketball Mathematics gives children a sense of ownership of their calculations and helps them clarify and concretize abstract concepts, which in turn increases their motivation to learn math through the math of basketball, ”says Linn Damsgaard, PhD student.
Mathematics active on the school timetable
Associate Professor Jacob Wienecke of the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports at UCPH, who oversaw the study, says other studies have proven the benefits of movement and physical activity on children’s academic learning. . He expects Basketball Mathematics results on children’s learning and academic performance to be released soon:
“We are currently investigating whether the mathematics model of basketball can enhance the performance of young people in mathematics. Once we have the final results, we hope they inspire teachers and principals to prioritize more physical activity and movement in these subjects, ”says Jacob Wienecke, who concludes:
“Ultimately, we hope to be successful in integrating these tools into the school system and teacher training. The aim is for schools in the future to include “active English” and “active math” in the weekly curriculum as subjects where physical education and subject matter instructors work together to integrate this type of learning. classroom work teaching normally more sedentary. “