Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Reading, Running, or Sponge-Bob?

Every year, the 4th & 5th grade classes are required to participate in the Science Fair.  It's funny, when Sis was younger, we would do a project for the Science Fair for "fun", but once it became required, we were tired of doing them!!  

So this past December, when the notice came home with all the official dates and rules,  I pushed back on her a bit.  This being her 5th grade year, it was going to be up to her to get this monster done.

That night at the dinner table we brain-stormed ideas.  And I am so proud to say that she came up with a brilliant one.  She remembered a conversation I had had when the study came out a few months back showing that watching a SpongeBob Squarepants cartoon worsened a toddler's ability to concentrate (versus watching a slower cartoon like Cailou).   She wanted to test the same cartoon on grade-school kids and decided to expand upon it a bit.

She gathered 10 of her closest friends (or whatever neighbor kids were available) and sat them down to read for a solid 30 minutes.
 It was so awesome watching them all reading quietly together - I even grabbed my book to join them.
Then she had each of them do a word search for 3 minutes to determine how many words they could find.
 Next, we went outside to play for 30 minutes - they played soccer, rode bikes, played volleyball.
 I actually had a hard time getting them to come back inside for another word search.....
 After the second word search, they had to watch 30 solid minutes of SpongeBob Squarepants.
And one last word search.....
 Science experiment over, they all ran back outside to play for a few hours!!

So, what 30 minute activity do you think allowed them to concentrate better??

No brainer - hands-down, it was playing outside!  And it was a BIG difference!!  Reading & watching tv was about the same amount of words (2-3 words) versus playing outside (5-7 words).  Pretty cool huh?

Why does she think this happened?  In her own words...

We found when playing outside for 30 minutes, test subjects did better on a word search than reading for 30 minutes or watching TV for 30 minutes.  This is possible because when you are exercising your body is producing more BDNF which helps your brain think faster (more neurons).  Also, when exercising, your body produces neurotransmitters (serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine) which helps your body relax, calm down and focus.

Regular Ms. Wizard!!
 And how'd she do???
Proud of that girl - now get outside and play!!!


Xazmin said...

Awesome project!

Cowgirl is also in 5th grade, and it was the first year she had the option to participate (not required).

Her project advanced to Regionals!

So cool that Sis won 1st place!!

MiMi said...

What a fun project!!

Kimi said...

So awesome! What a great idea! Love that happy face with that first place ribbon!

Anonymous said...

that's awesome

Connie said...

Are you serious?

This is amazing!!

I'm going to start making my boy run around outside before we do his homework.

Tell Sissy THANK YOU!

Stacy Uncorked said...

Oh wow! Your daughter is a genius! :) Can you ask her if it's OK if Princess Nagger borrows her idea in a couple of years when she's in 5th grade and needs to come up with a Science Project? :)

Madonna Still Rocks, M.I.A. Steals the Headlines, and Another Stray Cat

Kelli said...

How awesome is that! I would have thought the reading would have been the one to result in more words. Thanks for teaching me something Sissy!

Impulsive Addict said...

From a Science teacher's perspective....I LOVE THIS! And you know what I love even more? That she came up with the idea herself! There are always 3 categories for judging: 1) The parents that don't help at all and the poor kids are left struggling to even put the board together correctly 2) The parents that do the project FOR their child (and you can soooo tell and 3) The projects that the parents HELP their child. I NEVER gave a ribbon to the second category.

Well done, Becca! Love it!

Liz @ Sugarplum Creations said...

AWESOME!!! I love it. The running/play was my guess too. I would think that running off all that extra energy would leave you nice and focused.

She did so great! You can see that sense of accomplishment in her smile. So cool.

berg4 said...

wtg! So nice to hear about how proud you are and how great she did!

Angie said...

Wow, sounds like you have one smart cookie on your hands! What a great experiment. Tell her I am sending a huge Congrats. I'd totally be proud too :)

Myya said...

You have sure got an awesome little lady on your hands. What a great project & seriously the outcome is so cool!!!

Vivienne @ the V Spot said...

That. Is. Awesome! Congrats to Sissy!!

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