Stability balls instead of chairs in Clyde classrooms: Experiment tests kids' ability to focus

Stability ball experiment tests kids' ability to focus

ABILENE, Texas - Kids in Clyde are sitting on stability balls instead of chairs in their classrooms.

Studies have been done that show that sitting on stability balls instead of chairs can improve your balance and overall ability to focus.

This is exactly what's going on at Clyde Intermediate School; chairs have been swapped out for balls in an attempt to see if it will have a positive effect on academic performance.

The swap was made as part of an experiment with Hardin-Simmons University and the Abilene Regional P-16 Council.

What's the theory behind this study?

"Because [children] are interactive and because they're moving so much, that they can concentrate a lot more and focus a bit more and so we're looking at some of those aspects like behavior issues, academic performance, writing skills, things like that," said Lindsay Edwards of Hardin-Simmons University, who is helping to facilitate the experiment.

Clyde Intermediate School Principal Jill Morphis said the transition took some getting used to.

"The first week was a little crazy, because, you know, kids are learning what that looks like and as a teacher, when you walk into the room and they're all [bouncing]...it catches you off guard," Morphis said.

The kids at Clyde Intermediate said they enjoyed sitting on the balls.

"It's more comfortable that a chair," said 4th-grader Madelyn Gollihar. "It helps me write better."

After the experiment is over, Morphis said she'd like to keep the ball project going.

"If it shows improvement with our kids and we're seeing success, yes, we'll definitely push, because clearly, that's our goal," Morphis said.

The stability ball experiment is on an AB-AB design.

This means they'll move between balls and chairs and the students' performance on each will be compared.

Here are some facts on the benefits for kids sitting on a stability ball instead of a chair:

1. It's shown to help children who have ADHD concentrate.

2. It can improve your handwriting skills.

3. It helps improve your balance.

4. It can even help to regulate misbehavior in the classroom.

Roscoe ISD is also taking part in the experiment.

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