Exercise and the Brain

Parents and Guardians,

The specialist team (Art, PE, and MESA) had the opportunity to take a book study this fall called SPARK written by John Ratey.  It is an excellent book with some incredible information.  This book focuses on the importance of exercise and how it enhances brain functions.  While reading this book, we decided to work collaboratively on a unit that centered around the amazing concept of how exercise positively influences our brains.  

In PE, 5th grade students participated in an experiment,  measuring  the difference between active students versus non-active students and the impact exercise had on one’s memory.  Long story short, the outcome of the memory test was staggering!!  Results showed that 61% of active students improved their memory scores, whereas only 31% of the non-active students showed improvement (what a difference!!).  

In MESA, Ms. Pollock’s 5th grade students learned about the different components of the brain and the function of each part.  

In Art, Ms. Brubaker’s 5th grade students created works of art demonstrating the information they learned for the rest of the school.  You will find all the posters displayed outside the Art room!

In summary, we learned the importance of aerobic exercise with relation to many different capacities of our brains (focus, concentration, stress, anxiety, the aging process, and ADD/ADHD to name a few).  In addition to the memory test, students learned about aerobic exercise and what it is.  We also talked about resting, target, and maximum heart rates while discovering the importance of reaching a target heart rate for at least 20 minutes a day, 7 days a week.  There is an exorbitant amount of proof that supports the positive effects exercise has on our brains throughout our lives.  


Mr. Juergensen, Ms. Pollock and Ms. Brubaker

Blue Mountain Elementary School