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Activity Works: A Remarkable Program

Aaron Stoker-Ring

August 16, 2016
Aaron Stoker-Ring

Over the past few years, I’ve witnessed the growth of an important and effective tool in the fight against childhood obesity. It’s called Activity Works, and, full disclosure, it’s one of our products at Princeton Partners. Activity Works functions on the idea of kinesthetic learning. Students dance along to twelve-minute, in-class videos featuring characters who present lessons on anything from dinosaurs to division. A web-based home version lets students continue the activities at home with added gamification.

I have to admit that I was skeptical when I first heard about Activity Works. A lot of my job entails strategy. Will a product or service have an audience that not only wants it but needs it? Activity Works sounded like a nice idea, but I wasn’t sure it would work in practice. I don’t know a single teacher who isn’t pressed for time during the day. Activity Works just seemed like another ball they’d have to juggle. Seeing the program in action made me a believer.

The students get exercise and so much more. Principals and teachers across five school districts credit Activity Works for higher test scores, better attendance and increased student focus. In an increasingly tight school day, educators are finding that Activity Works sessions in the morning and afternoon actually help them get more done. Through it all, the kids have a blast.

I’m writing this now because Activity Works is at a crossroads. The program has been successful in five major cities, but if it is to thrive we need to expand it across the US and beyond. I’m not sure how we’re going to make that happen but I’m confident we will. As I sat down to start thinking about it, it struck me how lucky I am that I get to work on a product I truly believe in.