Last month, after two major studies announced that sitting all day can literally kill you
, several of my friends announced they planned to start using standing desks at work. I began to wonder what hours of sitting in classrooms means for kids, who are supposed to get more exercise than adults. Here’s one antidote: play hopscotch while you learn math.
Researchers at Fraunhofer
, a German institute, have designed a digital version of hopscotch that can be used in the classroom. A sensor mat is divided into squares and numbered, just like the chalk-on-sidewalk version of the game. The mat also has letters, like the keypad of a phone. It’s connected to a monitor so a player can answer questions on the screen by jumping on the mat.
Players wear a belt that measures how hard they’re jumping, so more activity can earn more points. When the researchers tested the game, they found that students could study English just as effectively as with traditional methods—but they liked the class more, and had the added benefit of exercise.
The game can also be used in rehab centers and nursing homes to motivate patients to move and to measure how well they’re exercising.