16) Vestibular connection

There is a concert here. The combination of sensory data from the eyes, musculature, and inner ear extend to the cerebral cortex, the planning, reasoning, and judgment area of the brain. The motor-directing area or cerebellum then coordinates the movements and positioning of our body parts, at the base of the brain. Based on development from infancy the cerebellum synchronizes and strengthens its connection with the midbrain, the region associated with attention and emotion to produce an enormous sensory retrieval and response system. The cerebellum, though only about ten percent of the brain's volume, has about half of the neurons, with the greatest number of nerve fibers.

Can movement help students become better content area learners, or put this way: does vestibular stimulation improve knowledge acquisition? Should we be doing more in this area? For one, sustaining center of gravity, or balance, as we adjust to the earth's gravitational influence develops the musculoskeletal reflexes needed to perform a myriad of activities. Furthermore, several researchers have found that students receiving ample movement and cardiovascular exercise during the school day improves cognition because the balance-vestibular system is closely tied to the cerebellum and other regions of the brain related to decision-making and memory. Neuromuscular coordination and vestibular functionality are tied to the attentive academic child.

photo: Children exercising Lars Ploughmann flickr