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Quick Brain Break – Q and A Body Game

Need a quick game to rest and refresh your student’s brain?  Try this Q and A Body Game: Purpose: Promote body awareness, motor skills and listening skills. Materials: none Activity: This can be played with one player or a group of children. The adult faces the group. Explain the directions of the game. The adult […]

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Mental Practice versus Physical Practice for Finger Opposition Skills in Children

Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport published research on the effects of mental practice (MP) and physical practice (PP) on a finger opposition task among 36, nine to ten years old, children. The children were randomly assigned to either a MP group, PP group or no practice (NP) group. The MP and PP groups participated […]

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Physical Activity and Executive Control in Children

Pediatrics published research on 221 children (7-9 years old) who were randomly assigned to either a 9 month after school physical activity program or a wait list group. Following the intervention various measurements were recorded: changes in maximal oxygen consumption, electrical activity in the brain and behavioral measures (accuracy, reaction time) of executive control. The […]

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Want to Improve Motor Learning? Go to Sleep.

  Researchers from the University of Montreal taught a group of subjects a new sequence of piano-type finger movements on a box.  Using functional MRIs, the subject’s brains were analyzed during their performance of the task before and after a period of sleep. In addition, the same test was performed by a control group at the […]

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Go Ahead, Make a Mistake – Your Brain Will Learn Faster

We all know that we learn from our mistakes. But new research specifically indicates that our brains learn faster from our mistakes. Researchers at Johns Hopkins university determined that people learn an identical or similar task faster the second, third and subsequent time around because they are helped by memories of how to perform the […]

Type of Practice Matters

Some new research published in Psychological Science reinforces motor learning theories on how to practice to learn a skill quickly. Data was analyzed from over 800,000 people playing an online game called Axon which tested participants’ ability to use rapid perception, decision making, and motor responses.The data revealed that some players achieved higher scores than others […]

Active Prospective Control Necessary for Sensorimotor Learning

Recent research studied 36 adults with no history of motor or neurological impairments were assigned to one of three groups – active (participant actively guides movement), passive (therapist or robot guides movement) or control group.  This study used haptic tracking for the passive movement.  The results indicated the following: no effective learning with passive movement […]

Reflective Questions for Motor Learning

How do you provide feedback to children regarding their performance on a motor skill?  Do you provide constructive criticism, positive praise, additional motor commands, additional demonstrations or more trials? Why not ask the child to verbally plan or review their own performance on a motor task.  For example, once you request a motor task to […]

Immersion in the Skill

Teaching a New Motor Skill? Try Full Immersion

Here is something to try that does not have to necessarily do with swimming – immersion in one particular motor skill.  When we are teaching a child a new motor skill or perhaps working on refining a motor skill, try bombarding the child with the skill.  Here are some examples: The goal is to write […]