Moundsville Middle School in Moundsville, W.Va. has given students a new way to look at learning in the classroom. Health and Physical Education teacher, Suzanne Muncy, realized that this rural school is fighting obesity statistics that are growing each year and challenged herself to create fun healthy movement options in school that will make a big difference in children's lives. Suzanne knew students needed more time to be physically active during the school day and began looking around for opportunities to integrate physical activity into non-traditional school settings.
Thanks to a $2,500 School Grant for Healthy Kids provided by Action for Healthy Kids thanks to funding from CSX Transportation, she found those opportunities. Working with English and Language Art teachers, Suzanne was able to place stationary bikes in the back of classrooms that were traditionally more sedentary to create more movement opportunities. Students rotate daily so that everyone gets a turn on the bikes. And, because bikes are silent, they don't disturb the teachers' lessons or students' work. But the biggest benefit of all is students are getting an extra chance to activate their brains, which is critical to learning, as demonstrated in The Learning Connection: What You Need to Know to Ensure Your Kids are Healthy and Ready to Learn. The bottom line is, physical activity supports academic achievement.
Suzanne has seen a definite change in students who traditionally struggle. It is a dream come true in teaching when you have a struggling student in a class and just by getting them moving, you see them be able to focus their attention on the lesson," she said.
English teacher, Jacob Myers adds: "My students look forward to coming to class and having their turn on the exercise bike." Meanwhile, Jaclyn McCombs, Special Needs English teacher, noted: "The exercise bikes helped greatly with behavior problem students. I event use it as an incentive for good behavior in my classroom."
As a result of the addition of the exercise bikes in English classrooms, students are exercising approximately 30 minutes more a week and are experiencing the Learning Connection, the link between healthy behaviors and increased academic performance, in real life.
Originally published on the Action for Healthy Kids website.
Written by Paige Dewhirst, WV AFHK State Coordinator.