COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - In some classes at Hyatt Park Elementary, students are encouraged to twist, wiggle, wobble, and pedal on their stationary bikes, all while they are in their regular learning environment.
It’s called action-based learning, a non-traditional way to keep students actively engaged while in class.
“The concept in the Action Base Learning labs are based upon brain research that supports the link of movement and physical activity to increase academic performance,” Hyatt Park Elementary School Principal Dr. Dell N. Brabham said. “In an age where we have a lot of kinesthetic learners, this is a nontraditional way to keep students actively engaged in the learning.”
At Hyatt Park Elementary, there are four classrooms fully equipped to target kinesthetic learners.
In the classrooms, you can find students sitting at a desk, where the bottom half is a bike, allowing students to pedal.
If they want to stand, there are desks with ellipticals, so students can swing the lower half of their body, all while they are still learning.
Sedric Goodwin, a fourth-grade student said being able to stay active during class makes all the difference.
“It keeps me staying awake, alert and focused, and it keeps me on task,” Goodwin said. “Instead of just staying in like one place I get to move around and do my work.”
Teachers say they’ve seen an overall decrease in behavioral issues utilizing action-based learning. They say it’s also benefitted students’ ability to retain information.
“The action-based learning class is way better than a traditional classroom,” Jessica Green, a teacher at Hyatt Park Elementary said. “Students learn in different ways, and it’s very hard for a student who is not your traditional child to sit there.”
“I don’t know if we can directly relate it to the increase in test scores, but I will say is that this is the third year of implementation. The first year of implementation was in Ms. Green’s fourth grade classroom, we saw a definite increase there in terms of the response in the test scores for her class. So I thought at that point we saw some good data, and we would implement that on a broader scale, so we’ve added three additional classrooms since that time,” Dr. Brabham said. “Exercise fuels the brain, and so we’re giving students an opportunity to be energized with the brain and learn at the same time.”
Richland One started using action-based learning in 2016, and there are seven Richland One schools with action-based learning equipment.
There is a one-time cost of $10,000-20,000 per school for equipment, support materials, and teacher training.