BDNF on the Brain: Movement-Based Learning

BDNF on the Brain: Movement-Based Learning

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BDNF on the Brain: Movement-Based Learning In our last post, we talked about the effects of ACEs on the ability to learn. This post focuses on how movement impacts the brain in several ways that are important for children with ACEs. First, movement increases levels of glutamate in the brain through brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). This messenger neurotransmitter is responsible for starting and maintaining the communication between nerve cells. Communication is crucial for smooth brain functioning and complex thought (Maddock, 2016). What is BDNF? Exercise increases the release of small proteins called “growth factors.” These growth factors promote the growth, maintenance, and repair of neurons which can be disrupted as a consequence of ACEs. Growth factors are key in maintaining plasticity in the brain through adulthood. The specific growth factor…
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ACEs and Learning

ACEs and Learning

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The Effects of ACEs on Learning What are ACEs? Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are any instances of abuse, neglect, or trauma experienced by a minor (Center for Disease Control 2019). Examples of ACEs are health problems, divorce, sexual and physical abuse, and emotional and physical neglect (Jarvis, 2018). A study of 17,000 participants found that 64% of people had one ACE and 12.4% had four or more (The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2013). Furthermore, children with at least one confirmed ACE probably have more than one ACE(Mersky, Topitzes, & Reynolds, 2013).  ACEs can have a major impact on a student's ability to learn. Research shows that higher dropout rates, low academic achievement, and lower school engagement are more common with students with ACEs. Shockingly, students with three or more ACEs…
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Shopping Activity For The Hundred Number Grid

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Shopping Activity for the Hundred Number Grid https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FOD3jXGkcE&feature=youtu.be This is Suzy Koontz’s Add/Subtract Mat, a giant hundred number grid perfect for elementary student activities. This mat features large and colorful numbers where students visualize and make sense of number patterns.  In this video, students played a shopping game to practice working with prices. First, the students wrote down some of the things they wanted to buy. They also guessed how much they thought those objects would cost. When trying this activity at home, have your students write down this information (object and price) to practice writing skills. Next, the students threw the bean bag on the mat. The number where it landed acts as the 'actual price' of the item in the store. Then, they added or subtracted, finding the difference…
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We Have a Math Crisis. Here’s How to Solve It.

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We Have a Math Crisis. Here's How to Solve it. Americans are lagging behind other countries in math. Many students have difficulty with math from an early age that affects their entire math education. This so-called 'math crisis' stems from students’ difficulty in understanding math concepts. Innumeracy-- what John Allen Paulos calls “the mathematical equivalent of not being able to read”--has become a long-term trend among American students. In 2012, the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) evaluation of 15-year-old students’ math scores found that Americans rank 24 out of 29 industrialized nations. America ranks behind 23 countries including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Spain. In recent years, this trend hasn’t shown signs of improvement. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics found that, in 2018, only 25% of American…
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Home Study Tips For School Closure

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10 Home Study Tips to Prepare Parents and Teachers for School Closures Many schools have closed their doors and encouraged teachers and parents to adopt a home study plan until it’s possible to re-open. In the meantime, students still need to complete their classwork. Teachers and parents should work together to make sure students have the resources and guidance they need to excel at school. Check out these ten tips for transitioning students to home study and online classrooms.Online Classroom Transition Tips for Teachers1. Plan Homework AheadTo make sure students stay on track with school curriculum, look ahead in your lesson plan. Create a take-home packet with any class work, homework, and extra materials students might need. Include a list of instructions for parents to guide student learning.2. Keep Parents…
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Cartesian Coordinate Hop Floor Mat

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Mat of the Month: Cartesian Coordinate Hop March means standardized testing is just around the corner. Some states began their testing periods this week! So your middle school students will need to practice using a Cartesian coordinate plane. Using kinesthetic and tactile learning techniques turns extra drills into fun math games and activities. It also improves memory, strengthens neural pathways created during learning, and enhances motivation. Math & Movement’s Cartesian Coordinate Hop floor mat uses tactile learning strategies to help students practice their graphing skills. Each mat contains an x-y axis so you don’t have to set one up. Just roll it out and start your lesson! This mat is also available as a desk sticker for individual desk work and group classwork. Kinesthetic and Tactile Learning for Graphing Our…
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Women in Math Who Really Add Up!

Women in Math Who Really Add Up!

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Women in Math Who Really Add Up! Happy International Women’s Day! Today, we want to celebrate the achievements of women in math. Although many women are enthusiastic about math, women only hold 15% of tenured mathematics positions in American universities as of 2016. Additionally, many girls interested in math and science do not pursue these careers because they face discouragement from peers and mentors. Let’s inspire young women by taking a look at five women in mathematics whose contributions really add up!Sofia Kovalevskaya (1850 - 1891)Born into a family of Russian nobles, Sofia Kovalevskaya learned calculus from a young age by reading her father’s old notes that were used as wallpaper in her nursery. After gaining support from her uncle and neighbor, she went to study mathematics in St. Petersburg and later at…
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Kinesthetic Learning in the Classroom

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Why Use Kinesthetic Learning in Your Classroom? The current math crisis shows that students struggle to learn math using traditional teaching methods. Rote memorization and practice problems take individual math topics out of context and make later math concepts more confusing. Additionally, many students have a lot of energy that reduces their ability to focus in class, especially if they have been diagnosed with ADHD. But, there are teaching techniques that take advantage of these problems to help students understand math. Kinesthetic learning uses physical activity to teach classroom material and engage students with what they learn. Best of all, it’s easy to integrate into your lesson plans.What is Kinesthetic Learning?Kinesthetic learning, also known as tactile learning or movement-based learning, uses physical movement to teach students new material. These activities…
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Pi Day Activities and Games For Your Classroom

Pi Day Activities and Games For Your Classroom

Activities, Blog
Mathtastic Pi Day Activities Pi Day (3/14) celebrates pi, the mathematical constant used to find the circumference of a circle. When you divide the circumference of a circle by its diameter, the result is pi. As of 2019, Google mathematician Emma Haruka Iwao calculated the value of pi up to 31.4 trillion place values. That’s something to celebrate! Here are some fun activities to teach your class about pi and celebrate its uses! 1. Buffon’s Needle Problem The oldest known game involving pi is Buffon’s Needle Problem. In the 1700s, a French nobleman named Count Buffon observed that a popular game of chance could help calculate the value of pi. To try his experiment, toss some pencils on a sheet of lined paper. Next, count how many pencils you tossed,…
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After School Program at GIAC

After School Program at GIAC

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After School Program at GIAC On October 22, 2019, Math & Movement hosted an after school program for 11 students at the Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC). The goal was to increase student performance and understanding of skip counting and multiplication. As a bonus, students gained extra physical activity throughout the day. Hop To Multiplication! The program started with a pre-test to measure students’ math skills. They then learned two active math movements - basketball and soccer - as a warm-up to learn one-to-one correspondence and skip counting. Students then practiced skip counting by 3’s on our floor mats to solve multiplication problems. They jumped, hopped, and skipped to fill out a practice worksheet. They worked in pairs as part of a flexible grouping strategy, which improves social communication and…
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