Playing the Numbers

Jul. 11, 2016

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Math and exercise add up to success in the classroom for GoNoodle students

The word “algebra” exists in a special class, right alongside “taxes,” “broccoli” or “root canal” — words that can strike fear in the heart and mind.

But despite its complex system of symbols and formulas, algebra is becoming something Tennessee elementary students run toward, not away from.

GoNoodle has given kids a positive attitude toward learning math by creating Mega Math Marathon, an activity with more than 5,500 questions that helps students have fun and be active while learning important basic skills.

Engaging body and mind

In Mega Math Marathon, students jog and sprint alongside their desks as they run a virtual 26.2 miles.

These activities teach kids fractions, decimals, percentages and other aspects of algebra and geometry.

The results have been impressive.

An independent study conducted by SEG Measurement showed that students who played Mega Math Marathon at school improved math test scores by an average of 22 points, compared to 14 points among students in a control group who never played the game.

“Studies have shown a relationship between physical fitness and frontal brain structure, which relates to academic performance,” says Laura Chaddock-Heyman, research scientist at the Beckman Institute of the University of Illinois.

“Fitness also plays a role in brain activation when children perform cognitive tasks.”

Movement that works

In addition to the increase in student math scores, teachers who participated in the study saw it working.

  • 88% indicated that GoNoodle’s Mega Math Marathon improved students’ math fluency (the ability to apply procedures accurately, efficiently, and flexibly)
  • 81% reported that students improved their math skills using Mega Math Marathon

“Higher fit children outperform their lower fit peers on tasks of attention, memory and academic achievement,” Chaddock-Heyman says.

“They may also have speedier transfer of information throughout the brain — which may help boost performance in and out of the classroom.”

Getting kids to enjoy math isn’t always easy, and MegaMath Marathon is helping kids gain confidence and be more enthusiastic about their lessons.