Active Science®: Integrating Physical Activity and Science Learning into the Afterschool Environment

Document Type

Article - Merrimack Access Only

Publication Title

American Journal of Health Education

Publication Date


Abstract/ Summary

Afterschool programs offer significant opportunities to increase physical activity levels and improve academic performance of children. This study assessed an innovative approach to embed physical activity into science lessons in an afterschool community setting. Participants were 47 boys and girls (age = 10.8 ± 0.7 years) enrolled in an afterschool program offered at a YMCA located in an economically disadvantaged urban community. The 6-week curriculum included a 30-minute, twice-a-week physical activity intervention. The Active Science (n = 16) group participated in a series of age/grade appropriate science lessons that involved using their activity data (i.e., steps, distance, and calories) to explore and reinforce important science concepts. The control group (n = 31) participated in the physical activity component only. A 2(time) x 2(group) repeated multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) test showed that the group was not significant, F (24, 1) = 0. 51, P > 05. The time effects were significant on steps/hour, F (24,1) = 43.07, distance/hour, F (24,1) = 26.31; calories/hour, F (24,1) = 23.50; and science scores, F (24, 1) = 39.00, all Ps < .001. The results of this study suggest an active education intervention showed promising effects on promoting physical activity and science learning. Afterschool programs should endorse innovative strategies to incorporate movement and activity into their curricula.