The Walking Classroom
- Need: To help improve students' ability to learn while engaging in physical activity.
- Intervention: Through The Walking Classroom, students learn from a variety of 20-minute podcasts several times per week while walking.
- Results: Children increase their activity level while learning academic content, building health literacy, and developing healthy lifestyle habits to prevent obesity and improve cognitive functioning.
Studies show links between exercise and cognitive
functioning, improved behavior, and decrease of obesity
in children. Children with ADHD, dyslexia, and/or autism
especially can benefit from alternative learning
activities that engage physical activity.
School, summer, and afterschool programs have an
opportunity to help students develop lifelong health
habits such as learning to enjoy regular exercise.
Walking Classroom (TWC) was developed as a a way to
incorporate exercise without sacrificing instructional
time. Developed in North Carolina, this award-winning
nonprofit program is now used in 50 states.
Using TWC, students in 3rd through 8th grade walk as a
class while listening to an
educational podcast that includes a health literacy
message along with a content area lesson (language arts,
social studies, and science). The podcasts come
pre-loaded on custom "WalkKit" audio devices. The
year-long courses are designed for teachers to use the
WalkKits 2 to 4 times per week throughout the school
In this 5-minute video, a fifth grade teacher and her
students share their experiences with The Walking
talk about the benefits of TWC from teachers'
Partners for TWC include:
TWC is financially supported by the following groups:
The 20-minute Walking Classroom podcast topics include a
brief health literacy message at the beginning of each
podcast. Its kid-friendly, custom audio lessons the
students listed to while they walk are aligned to the
Language Arts Common Core State Standards.
The program is used in a variety of educational settings,
including classrooms, afterschool programs, camps, and
Teacher's guides include lesson plans, discussion
questions, and quizzes for each podcast.
In 2018, 44,800 walking kits were distributed to students
in rural, urban, and suburban settings across the U.S.
Program organizers estimate that more than 75,000
students are currently using Walking Classroom materials.
Educators who have used the Walking Classroom report:
- 99% - Students are more engaged in class discussions
after TWC lessons
- 97% - Listening to TWC podcasts while walking
strengthened students understanding of content
Students who used the Walking Classroom reported:
- 89% - TWC helps them better understand the content
- 75% - It's easier to concentrate throughout the day
after a TWC lesson
- 74% - Enjoyed walking since starting TWC
Program participants described how the Walking Classroom
has impacted them:
"We could not be more thrilled with the reception the
Walking Classroom has received from our students. We are
noticing the optimistic outlooks our students are
developing because they're feeling good about themselves
and the exercise they're getting. Our students are
excited to learn and are equally excited to share their
new knowledge with anyone who will listen." – Fifth
"I was so happy to learn about what a calorie is. My
parents are overweight and I should tell them." –
Fifth grade student
"The Walking Classroom really happied-up our class." –
Fourth grade student
The Walking Classroom was a finalist for the 2014
Kate B. Reynolds Charitable
Trust Innovations in Rural Health Award. The award
recognizes innovative ideas and projects across the
United States that have the potential to improve the
health of people living in rural North Carolina
communities. The Walking Classroom has also received the
For more information about the impact of the Walking
The program includes free online training and
professional development, lesson plans, quizzes, and
other teacher support materials. The curriculum includes
over 100 pre-loaded educational podcasts.
TWC WalkKits, Teachers Guides, Discussion Guides, and
Home Kits are available for purchase and by donation. The
program's cost is estimated to be around $20 per child
when amortized over the WalkKit's anticipated lifespan of
3 to 5 years.
Children and youth
Wellness, health promotion, and disease prevention
April 21, 2014
Date updated or reviewed
May 11, 2018
Suggested citation: Rural Health Information Hub,
The Walking Classroom [online]. Rural Health Information Hub. Available at:
[Accessed 5 July 2022]
Please contact the models and innovations contact directly for the most complete and current information
about this program. Summaries of models and innovations are provided by RHIhub for your convenience. The
programs described are not endorsed by RHIhub or by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural
community should consider whether a particular project or approach is a good match for their community’s
needs and capacity. While it is sometimes possible to adapt program components to match your resources, keep
in mind that changes to the program design may impact results.