Physical Activity

By: Kate Madden

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Compelling and Supporting Questions

Compelling Question: Does physical activity belong in schools?

Supporting Question: How long do students need to do physical activity for it to benefit their performacne in school?

Supporting Question: What are some benefits of having physical activity in schools and how does it improve student's education?

Background Information

Physical Activity: The movement of the body that uses energy.

  • Physical activity and physical education started around 1820 but was more focused more on gymnastics and human body development. The commitment of physical education began to decline in the late 20th century.

  • In 1969, 41% of students walked or biked to school; by 2001, on 13% of students walked or biked to school.

  • The focus on academics eliminated physical-education classes and physical activity opportunities. The increasing education demand has resulted in the addition of extra subjects, and more electives.

  • Tough financial times has also contributed to the decline of physical education in schools. In California, "75% of PTA members said their children's PE or sports programs were cut or reduced dramaticaly due to budget cuts" (Spark, 2015).

  • There has been an increase in child obesity and children's attention toward non-physical activities (ex: video games). This issue has raised awareness that schools need to implement physical activity into their curriculum.
Physical Activity in Schools

Significance of Physical Activity

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that youth participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily. In elementary schools students should spend at least 30 minutes a day in physical education classes. Thats 150 minutes a week for elementary kids. Allowing children to spend 150 minutes a week on physical activity results in numerous academic and health benefits. This is valuable time well spent in elementary schools.

During recess, PE, or physically active classroom breaks, students should implement vigourous activites (ex: sports, jog, active games, jump rope) or moderate-intensity activities (ex: walk, play games).

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Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School


Engaging in physical activity has been proven to:

-Improve test scores on academic tests

-Increase concentration

-Promotes the transfer of information from short term to long term memory

-Students are able to stay better focused and can remain on task in the classroom, which further enhances the students learning experience

-Reduced anxiety

-Reduced depression

-Decrease in the likelihood of developing obesity. Increasing physical education in kindergarten and first grade by just one hour per week could reduce the number of overweight youth by as much as 10% nationally.

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Research has shown that brains are more active after activity further promoting the need for children to be active throughout the day.

What I learned

I learned that:

  • Physical activity is something that is very important to have in elementary schools because of how much it benefits the student's health and academics.
  • Students should atleast have 60 minutes of physical activity each day.
  • Brains are more active after engaging in physical activity.
  • Ways to implement physical activity in schools and in the community

Recommendations for Physical Activity in Schools

There are many things schools can do to promte physical activity in schools:

  • Setting policies that require time for organized physical activity
  • Encouraging staff to be active because they are role models for the students
  • Schools can help students become more physically active by offering programs with quality physical education
  • To get the community involved, schools can pass along information in different formats (phone, e-mails, newsletters) to families to educate them about physical activity programs at school and in the community.
  • Include families in the school health advisory council
  • Schools should provide physical activity programs or workshops to students, families, and school staff
  • Schools could work with local community organizations to allow public access to facilite such as gyms and fields.


Hellmich, N. (2013, May 23). More PE, activity programs needed in schools. Retrieved April 24, 2016, from

Mindspark Interactive Network. (2006). Brief History of Physical Education. Retrieved April 24, 2016, from

Spark. (2015). Gambling with our Future, Part 2: Implications of Removing Physical Education from Schools. Retrieved April 24, 2016, from

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2009, August). Youth Physical Activity: The Role of Schools. Retrieved April 24, 2016, from (colorful running picture) (kids picture) (Video) (fact picture) (brain comparrison picture) (video)