Physical education: an embodied approach to improve children’s maths achievement

Ilaria Tosi, Francesco Casolo, G. Marta, G. Masperi, Christel Galvani

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in libroContributo a convegno


INTRODUCTION: The viewpoint of embodied cognition holds that cognitive processes are rooted in the body’s interactions with the world aimed at gathering and collecting as much information as possible: cognition is situated, body based and for action1. Therefore, embodied education research may have important implications for education because it highlights an approach to learning through whole-body engagement2. To date, there has been little agreement on the positive effect of classroom-based lessons integrating mathematics/geometry and physical activity3,4. The aim of this research was to examine the effect of embodied education on mathematical achievement and physical fitness (PF) level. METHODS: The study was designed as a school-based controlled trial targeting primary school children and was carried out between October 2020 and May 2021. Pupils were divided into the experimental group (EG) and the control group (CG), involving 82 children in the first and 39 in the second group. The intervention lasted 8 months, with two 50-min lessons per week, for a total amount of 30 lessons, carried out in the gym or in an open space. The CG did traditional physical education (PE) lessons, whereas EG, through practical activities during curricula PE lessons, learned geometrical and mathematical concepts. The assessments, performed twice, at the beginning and at the end of the project comprised: a mathematical achievement evaluation with the “Test for the evaluation of calculating and problem solving abilities” (AC-MT 6-11)5; three PF measurements by the six min walking test (6MWT)6, the 4x10m shuttle run test (4X10m SRT) and the standing broad jump test (SBJ)7. RESULTS: Mathematical skills significantly improved throughout the sample with a greater achievement in the EG compared with CG (EG: X2=27.88; p<0.05; CG: X2=12.11; p<0.05). Children in the EG were significantly more successful in problem solving ability in maths than the CG (p=0.0120). Children in both groups significantly (p=0.0210) improved their 6MWT distance (EG: 538±66 and 564±55m; CG: 550±62 and 562±47m), however no significant intervention effect on 4x10m SRT (EG: 15.8±2.2 and 15.7±2.2s; CG: 15.9±2.3 and 15.9±2.3s) and SBJ (EG: 111.0±19.8 and 116.5±18.3cm; CG: 116.1±18.9 and 118.5±17.8cm) was observed. CONCLUSION: To the best of our knowledge, this study investigated innovative aspects of the embodied education, not yet deepened by the recent literature. Participation in a 8-month PE intervention improved math achievement among elementary school children. This research confirms previous findings4 and contributes to the understanding of the close relationship between perception and action, mind and body
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteECSS’s 27th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science, Book of Abstract,
Numero di pagine1
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2022
EventoECSS’s 27th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science - Sevilla
Durata: 30 ago 20222 set 2022


ConvegnoECSS’s 27th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science


  • Physical education


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