Effect of Sensory Stimulation in Physical Activity on Academic Achievement and Classroom Behavior in Elementary Students
Date of Graduation
Doctor of Philosophy in Kinesiology (PhD)
Health, Human Performance and Recreation
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
Fourth Committee Member
Sensory/motor development, balance, vestibular system (balance/inner ear system), sensory integration, classroom behavior, reading levels, auditory memory, elementary students
Technological advancements and increased screen time has increased sedentary activity and altered the brain development of children. With the reduction of PE and recess in schools, increasing sensory stimulating physical activity can be pivotal in cognitive and behavioral development. Activities such as rolling and spinning enhance the sensory system in organizing and filtering information efficiently for quicker and more appropriate responses to stimuli. This study investigated the effect sensory stimulation had on auditory memory, reading levels and behaviors of elementary students.
During a 6-week period, 176 students, grades 1-5, participated in the sensory maze Minds in Motion, 15 sensory activities (adapted with permission from Minds in Motion), focusing on processing and integration motor skills. Each grade included an intervention group (52 male; 39 female) participating in 20 minutes of the Minds in Motion maze (10 minutes in the morning and afternoon) and a control group (49 male; 45 female), continuing with normal school activities. Pre and post difference scores of the dependent variables (Auditory Memory Test, Developmental Reading Assessment, and Office Referrals) were calculated.
Results of the MANOVA found a significant multivariate F, Wilks’s Λ= .95, F= (3,170) = 2.95, p = .034. Results of the univariate test found significance for Auditory Memory (p = .029), with the intervention (M = 3.51) scoring higher than the control (M = 1.87). Reading level mean differences of the groups did not differ. Classroom behavior did not produce a significant effect.
Data suggests the Minds in Motion maze benefits the auditory memory of children. Although reading levels reported non-significance, mean change illustrated improvements. Longer maze time beyond the 6 weeks could induce improvement. Qualitative remarks from participating teachers indicated the maze was a positive addition to the school day, especially with classroom management, the variable found to have no positive significance in the study. If the study was longer, involved a larger sample size, more homogeneous sample, or used alternative reading and behavior assessments, the results might be stronger. Further research is warranted. This pilot study suggests the maze can have a positive effect on auditory memory, reading levels, and classroom behavior.
Mitts, M. (2018). Effect of Sensory Stimulation in Physical Activity on Academic Achievement and Classroom Behavior in Elementary Students. Graduate Theses and Dissertations Retrieved from https://scholarworks.uark.edu/etd/2954