US & Canada

Pedal power boosts N Carolina pupils' performance

Pupils with bike pedals under their desks Image copyright Paul Cory, Wake County Public School System
Image caption Pupils pedal their way to better grades

A US schoolteacher who introduced pedal power into her classroom to get her pupils to focus more has said it has led to a significant increase in their performance.

Bethany Lambeth who teaches maths at Martin Middle School, North Carolina, said the children were not able to stop moving about during lessons.

So she put bike pedals under their desks as a way to divert their energy and found their grades improved too.

"Because they're sitting still all day long they start to get restless and start tapping their desks and their feet are moving about," she said.

"They're not doing it to be defiant - it's just about being able to move."

Ms Lambeth used to teach at a primary school where she says the children did more PE and always had more energy than the 11 to 14-year-olds she currently teaches.

Inspired by an article she had read about primary pupils using bicycle pedals under the desks in a reading class she decided to try it herself.

Image copyright Paul Cory, Wake County Public School System
Image caption Teacher Bethany Lambeth says pedals help divert energy and improve student grades

"I didn't tell the students what they were for but just put them under the desks and said 'see what you think of this'," she said.

"There are 10 bike pedals and 14 desks so they don't have to use them. They are silent and kids can change the tension so if they feel they have more energy they can crank up the tension."

Within a week some students started to say they thought they were focusing more and Ms Lambeth noticed that they were more engaged in conversation in class.

"They were able to recall a lot more of what I was saying and because they participated more they understood more and they did better in tests."

As a result she says their test grades demonstrably improved from when the pedals were introduced in April compared to earlier in the school year.

Other teachers using the same classroom have also noticed an improvement in students' grades and parents have reported that their children were more interested in just being in the class.

The pedals cost $180 (£138) each and were bought with a grant from the local Wake County Public School System.

Now the school is hoping to buy more pedals and extend the programme.

Staff who work with youngsters on the behavioural support programme area are also interested in seeing if they can make a difference for them.

By Annie Flury, UGC and Social News team.

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