Imagine a vocabulary lesson that gets kids to shake, twist, and jog. Topsy Turvy instructs teachers to write astronomical vocabulary words and corresponding physical activities on the board (Constellation = shake; Sun = twist; Galaxy = jog in place). When the teacher reads a definition, students perform the activity associated with the correct word.
This activity is part of the Davis School District’s successful and innovated program Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds. Students and teachers start the day with 15 minutes of physical activity. In the afternoon they take a 10 minute activity break to get kids moving and stimulate their brains. Evaluations from the pilot schools showed an increase in test scores and better performance in class.
Children and adolescents should get 60 minutes of daily physical activity, but this can be a challenge. Fewer kids are walking to school because of distance and safety concerns. Schools are cutting back on recess. Daily physical education is not required and can be taught by untrained instructors.
Data from the Utah Department of Health show a significant increase in weight between 1st and 5th grades (6% increase in boys and 3.5% increase in girls). The toxic combination of sedentary lifestyles, increases in screen time, unhealthy advertisements targeted at children, and the accessibility of unhealthy foods and sugary drinks have contributed to the high rates of obesity and overweight in children.
Research has shown that when kids are healthy and active, they are more likely to perform better in school. Programs like Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds provide schools with the tools they need to improve the health, well being, and academic achievement of their students.
Download the Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds Activity Book
The Utah Department of Health and the Utah State Office of Education have partnered to create a Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds activity book that can be accessed here: