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.
Then she had each of them do a word search for 3 minutes to determine how many words they could find.
And one last word search.....
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!!