Physical Activity Can Boost Kids’ Brains

Activity helps kids brainsMost people agree that doing schoolwork, puzzles, math and reading help kids get smarter. But did you know that a good workout can also help you learn more easily?

Scientists say that physical exercise gets more blood flowing through a person’s brain, and helps them think better.

It also causes the brain to release a protein (called brain-derived neurotrophic factor) which makes new brain cells grow.

Researchers say kids who are active and fit perform better on memory tests. It affects certain areas of the brain, like the hippocampus and the basal ganglia. Children who aren’t as active are more likely to become easily distracted.

Studies have shown that, with as little as 90 minutes more exercise a day, kids do better in math, reading and spelling.

Eating the right foods also helps the brain work better. Foods that have Omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish, eggs, seeds and nuts, are “brain foods.” Foods with antioxidants, like blueberries, are also very good for the brain. Fruits and vegetables also help the brain to work at its best.

Getting a good night’s sleep is also important because it helps to strengthen the brain, especially in children. Studies have shown that not getting enough sleep can cause some children to have problems at school.

This article was taken from an article in the Globe and Mail by Mark Fenske. He is an author of The Winner’s Brain: 8 Strategies Great Minds use to Achieve Success. He is a neuroscientist and an associate professor at the University of Guelph.

By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Having read today’s article, create a new weekly schedule for your class. Make sure to include times for reading, writing, math, social studies, science, music, library, and, of course, physical education.

Reading Prompt
Were you surprised by the information in today’s article? Why or why not?

Express personal opinions about ideas presented in texts (e.g., identify traits they admire in the characters; comment on actions taken by characters) (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Make judgements and draw conclusions about the ideas and information in texts and cite stated or implied evidence from the text to support their views (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Evaluate the effectiveness of both simple and complex texts based on evidence from the texts (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Grammar Feature: Appositives
An appositive is a group of words that interrupts a sentence to explain or give information about it. Appositives are separated from the rest of the sentence by commas on either side to show where they begin and where they end. For example, in the sentence below, “like blueberries” is an appositive because it is an example of a food that is rich in antioxidants.

Foods with antioxidants, like blueberries, are also very good for the brain.

Put a comma on either side of the appositives in the sentences below.

1. Darnell who is a lot taller than Sid can slam dunk.

2. Lisa Mae told Maria from Ms. Nadia’s class about the surprise party.

3. My friends from Port Hope who are all great dancers are going to Victoria.

4. My cat who always wakes me up in the morning is very annoying.

5. Enzo my neighbour has three basketballs and two footballs.