My students come from a rural area about 30 miles from the state capital, although, it may as well be 300 miles. While there are universities, museums, libraries, theaters, sporting events, the zoo, and other cultural and educational opportunities so close by, rarely do these students get to enjoy these things. For many, the school library and classroom libraries may be their only way to have access to a library experience. Parents must work, or some may not see the importance, with 72 percent of students having free or reduced lunch.
My students enjoy coming to the library during their lunch periods and before school to play games, work with STEM or art and craft activities, check out books, and hang out.
These makerspace activities help attract students who may not be "library regulars," but often, "regulars" forgo their recess outside activities to come.
In addition to having makerspace activities, like games, puzzles, STEM materials, robots, to engage students in the library, we want Fit Desk exercise bikes to get students moving and further activate their learning. Students have the option of going outside after lunch or coming to the library. Even when it is beautiful weather, they opt to stay indoors in the library to play on the computers. The Fit Desk bikes would encourage more movement and activate their bodies as well as their brains!
Research is showing that kids need to move to learn.
According to a New York Times article, John Ratey, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the author of “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain,” said, “Movement activates all the brain cells kids are using to learn, it wakes up the brain.”
June Pilcher, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Psychology, at Clemson University, says “Psychology-based research is increasingly clear. Humans learn best when they are moving; specifically, we learn best when moving and shortly after moving.”
The FitDesk is a combination of a stationary bicycle with a desk platform that allows the user to pedal while reading, using a computer or writing. Students would be able to read and ride or play and ride during their lunch times, before school, or during the school day on a library pass from their classroom. Riding could also be used as a reward, or as a timeout for students who need one. The library could hold read and ride challenges, to "Read Across America" over the year, keeping track of minutes and miles completed. The Fit Desks would be one more thing to attract students to the library and to get a book in their hands!
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