Research Study Abstract

Rationale and study protocol of the EASY Minds (Encouraging Activity to Stimulate Young Minds) program: cluster randomized controlled trial of a primary school-based physical activity integration program for mathematics

  • Published on Aug. 8, 2014

Background: Novel strategies are required to increase school-based physical activity levels of children. Integrating physical activity in mathematics lessons may lead to improvements in students’ physical activity levels as well as enjoyment, engagement and learning. The primary aim of this study is to evaluate the impact of a curriculum-based physical activity integration program known as EASY Minds (Encouraging Activity to Stimulate Young Minds) on children’s daily school time physical activity levels. Secondary aims include exploring the impact of EASY Minds on their engagement and ‘on task’ behaviour in mathematics.

Methods/Design: Grade 5/6 classes from eight public schools in New South Wales, Australia will be randomly allocated to intervention (n = 4) or control (n = 4) groups. Teachers from the intervention group will receive one day of professional development, a resource pack and asked to adapt their lessons to embed movement-based learning in their daily mathematics program in at least three lessons per week over a six week period. Intervention support will be provided via a weekly email and three lesson observations. The primary outcomes will be children’s physical activity levels (accelerometry) across both the school day and during mathematics lessons (moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and sedentary time). Children’s ‘on-task’ behaviour, enjoyment of mathematics and mathematics attainment will be assessed as secondary outcomes. A detailed process evaluation will be undertaken.

Discussion: EASY Minds is an innovative intervention that has the potential to improve key physical and academic outcomes for primary school aged children and help guide policy and practice regarding the teaching of mathematics.

Trial registration: Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Register ACTRN12613000637741 13/05/2013.


  • Nicholas Riley 1,2
  • David R Lubans 1,2
  • Kathryn Holmes 1,2
  • Philip J Morgan 1,2


  • 1

    Priority Research Centre in Physical Activity and Nutrition, School of Education, University of Newcastle, Callaghan Campus, Callaghan, Australia

  • 2

    School of Education, Faculty of Education and Arts, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia


BMC Public Health