When the Sad Mad Glad guys visit your school, the students are in for a real treat. Not only do they learn about the importance of a positive attitude, but they do it in a way that is full of movement, questions, hands-on and very stimulating. It is a wonderful way to learn.
When students use their bodies in the learning process, it can have a big effect, even if it seems silly or unconnected to the learning goal at hand. Researchers have found that when students use their bodies while doing mathematical storytelling (like with word problems, for example), it changes the way they think about math. “We understand language in a richer, fuller way if we can connect it to the actions we perform,” said Sian Beilock, professor of psychology at the University of Chicago.
Consider this word problem:
Two hippos and two alligators are at the zoo. Pete the zookeeper feeds them at the same time. Pete gives each hippo seven fish. He gives four to the alligators.
In an experiment on third graders, students were divided into two groups. One group read through the problem twice. The other group acted out the story as they read it, physically pretending to feed fish to the hippos and alligators as they read the problem. Both groups of students were asked how many fish the zookeeper fed to the animals.
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