The Space Walk



The Spacewalk, created by Frank Belgau, is an experiment that should reveal various levels of foundational intelligences (the intelligences on which academic intelligences are built), and increase participants' IQs as they begin to master its exercises. See research below!

"When you look for relationships between the Space Walk activities and academic performance do not just look at grades. Observe also how efficiently the child works to get the grades." — Frank Belgau, Creator of the Space Walk 404-850-5488 (contact the Belgau's for the complete Space Walk manual).

All Space Walk activities can be duplicated in chalk on the playground, at home, the park, etc. They do not have to be permanently painted somewhere! Create a Toe-on-Spot course where the dots are unevenly spaced and then hop or walk to them. Mix up the activities using the symbols from the course to challenge your brain to continually switch tasks, like five feet of toe-on-spot, then four feet of jump and turn then two more feet of toe-on-spot, then six feet of hop- toe-on-line, etc. Be creative and have fun!

Space Walk Evaluation Form


To master the Space Walk exercises, students must perform knowledgeable, efficient, precise, rhythmic, symmetrical, and relaxed body movements. This form defines these requirements, and allows students in small groups to evaluate each other, and in so doing practice and learn critical thinking skills. Older students can evaluate each other, while younger students can be evaluated by older students.

Students can learn how to evaluate any physical movement activity from what they learn using the form, which will help them in sports, but also help them practice critical thinking skills necessary to break down any problem into smaller parts, discuss problems productively with others, ask questions based on genuine curiosity, etc.

Space Walk Evaluation Database

I built a database application where teachers or students can enter the information from the forms and see reports on all students' abilities. A school's student data could be entered and then compared with standardized test scores, and without revealing any names, the data will show a significant relationship between test scores and Space Walk activity performance. Check back or subscribe to this post to find out when the database will be available (under a creative commons free license, of course). If you would like to help me finalize the database, built using FileMaker, or you would like to rebuild the database using an open source application, please comment about your interest below.

Space Walk Tabloid Handout

Here is a creative commons shareable Space Walk tabloid handout for posting on a bulletin board or outside near the Space Walk. It provides a brief description of all exercise activities and mastery requirements. I usually get it printed at a copy shop. Take it in on a memory stick and remember to ask for borderless printing for the best look.  Calycocarpum


Be sure to check out this funny and informative video showing how control of the physical body is essential for a well functioning brain:

Wolpert, Daniel (2011). The real reason for brains [video file]. TEDTalks. Time Y winding. TED. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Retrieved 4/27/2012 from /

[Blaydes, 2001]  Balance Improves Reading Capacity

The vestibular and cerebellum systems (inner ear and motor activity) are the first systems to mature. These two systems work closely with the RAS system (reticular activation system) that is located at the top of the brain stem and is critical to our attentional system. These systems interact to keep our balance, turn thinking into action, and coordinate moves. Physical Education curriculum games and activities that stimulate inner ear motion like rolling, jumping and spinning are necessary to lay the foundation for learning.

Blaydes, Jean (2001). Advocacy: A Case for Daily Quality Physical Education [Web article]. Journal of Theoretical Biology.  Copyright 2001. All rights reserved. Retrieved 7/9/2012 from / 

keyword:  balance and scholarship


[pdf 30-31 Luppe, 2007] Barrett (2000) theorizes that students who fail to experience sufficient movement, or who experience developmental delays in visual perception, tracking, balance, and gross-motor skills, and fall behind in school need sensory-motor remediation, not content remediation. Content assimilation can only happen when basic sensory-motor skills have developed, when the ability to use both sides of the brain-body in an integrated fashion for efficient action has developed (Jones, 2005).

Fadigan (as cited by Barrett, 2000) has extensively reviewed the research of educational, neuroscience, and psychology experts. His findings reveal the brain develops its ability to process information first at level one (conception to 2 years), when various sensory-motor skills are developed; then level two, when cognitive skills or multiple intelligences are acquired; then finally to level three, after enhancement of levels one and two, when content assimilation occurs. He offers an interesting consideration: most public and private schools teach exclusively at level three, and when a student exhibits problems assimilating content at this level, he or she is given remediation (usually in the form of additional content either in one-on-one tutoring or small group instruction), which doesn't adequately address the root of the problem. These students need experience at the sensory motor level to create neurological pathways, and only then can content assimilation occur.

Kokot (2003) reveals similar findings. For a child to experience success in learning areas, a number of underlying sensory-motor systems have to be functioning as well. If the vestibular, proprioceptive, tactile, visual, and auditory systems are malfunctioning, they will fail to support the child's attempts to learn academic work, sit still, pay attention, complete tasks, and learn appropriate social behaviors. Furthermore, she states these sensory systems develop according to a hierarchy. Success on one level is necessary for success on the next. If any of these developmental steps have been interrupted or skipped, it is likely to affect the degree to which the child experiences academic success.

Luppe, Kathy S (2007). The Effects of Movement on Literacy [PDF thesis].  pp. 1-79.  East Tennessee State University. Copyright 2007 by the Author. All rights reserved. ISBN: 9780549109068. Retrieved 9/5/2008 from / 

keywords: balance and scholarship, education, vestibular system


[pdf 5 New Jersey, 1999]  Movement and Learning

Research conducted by neurophysiologist Carla Hannaford indicates that the inner ear's semicircular canals and the vestibular nuclei are an information-gathering and feedback source for movement. The impulses travel through nerve tracts back and forth from the cerebellum (the part of the brain involved in almost all learning) to the rest of the brain, including the visual system and the sensory cortex. These impulses also seem to impact areas in the brain critical to attention. All together, these actions help human beings to maintain balance, turn thought into action, and coordinate moves. Hannaford supports participation in activities that stimulate inner ear motion such as swinging, rolling, and jumping (Jensen, 1998).

Other researchers have linked pathways from the cerebellum to parts of the brain involved in memory, attention, and spatial perception. Movement and learning seem to have "constant interplay" (Jensen 1998). More than 80 studies presented at the 1995 Annual Society of Neuroscience Conference suggested strong links between the cerebellum and memory, spatial perception, language, attention, emotion, nonverbal cues, and decision-making. According to Eric Jensen (1998), a former teacher and member of the International Society of Neuroscience, these findings strongly implicate the value of physical education, movement, and games in boosting cognition. Research suggests that the relationship between movement and learning continues throughout life.


Jensen, E. (1998). Teaching with the Brain in Mind. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

New Jersey State Department of Education (1999). Chapter 4: Learning and Behavior [PDF book]. New Jersey Comprehensive Health Education and Physical Education Curriculum.  State of New Jersey. Copyright 1999 by the Publisher. All rights reserved. Retrieved 7/9/2012 from /  

keyword:  balance and scholarship


[Solan, 2007] Clinical experience supports the notion that delayed vestibular maturation may be associated with sensory integrative dysfunctions, slow vision processing, and delayed acquisition of reading skills in primary and middle grade elementary school children.


In part, because of the overlap in cortical systems, uncorrected vestibular disorders may ultimately affect attention processing and result in cognitive dysfunctions.7,8 Smith, Zheng, Horii, and Darlington7 have reviewed extensive animal and human studies. They provide evidence that, in addition to more commonly known deficits in balance and posture, problems with vestibular function can be seen to be associated with deficits in object recognition, spatial navigation, learning and memory.


The need to see clearly and comfortably at all distances for extended periods of time remains a primary consideration. Normal binocular vision is a complex psycho-physiological process that is not always attained to its fullest extent by all who see with both eyes.

The experience of Rosen, Cohen, and Trebing24 in rendering vision therapy supports the notion that a successful rehabilitation program may require treatment for both the vestibular and visual systems, since the former may have provided only a partial cure.

Solan,Harold A; Shelley-Tremblay, John; Larson, Steven (2007). Vestibular Function, Sensory Integration, and Balance Anomalies: A Brief Literature Review [PDF article]. Optometry and Vision Development: 38(1). pp. 13-17.  College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD). Copyright 2007 by the Publisher. All rights reserved. Retrieved 7/9/2012 from disinfect 

keywords: balance and scholarship, vestibular system


[Steer, 1997] Teachers noticed improvements in most areas required by the children to establish functional occupational roles as students. Most noticeable improvements were in the cognitive skills required for the classroom. These findings are consistent with clinical reports of improvements that therapists notice as a result of sensory integrative procedures (Fisher, Murray, & Bundy, 1991).

Steer, Veronica (1997). Occupational performance and sensory integration therapy: preliminary findings of a rating scale [Web article]. Occupational performance model (Australia) monograph 1.  Copyright 1997 by the Author. All rights reserved. Retrieved 7/9/2012 from / 

keyword:  balance and scholarship


[Braswella, 2007]  Seventy-two typically developing children and 14 children with sensorineural hearing loss with and without vestibular *hypofunction participated. We examined: (1) reliability and age related changes in reading acuity scores, (2) the effect of vestibular hypofunction on reading acuity scores, and (3) the relationship between these scores and a test of dynamic visual acuity. RESULTS: The test was reliable (ICC (3,2)>or=0.86). Reading acuity scores were significantly worse in children with vestibular hypofunction (p<or=0.002). Furthermore, reading acuity scores correlated with dynamic not static visual acuity scores (r=0.55, p<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: These results imply that the gaze instability due to vestibular hypofunction affects reading ability in young children.  [*Diminished, abnormally low, or inadequate functioning]

Braswella, Jennifer; Rine, Rose Marie (2007). Evidence that vestibular hypofunction affects reading acuity in children [PDF article]. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology: 70. pp. 1957–1965.  Elsevier.  Copyright 2007 by the Publisher. All rights reserved. DOI link: katogle

keywords: education, literacy, balance and scholarship, vestibular system


[Indiana University, 2007] [Indiana University] researchers have recently found that a psychological inventory that probes such things as planning strategies and short-term memory is surprisingly effective in predicting balance ability.

Indiana University (2007). Training Quiets Aging Reflexes [Web article].  ScienceDaily. Copyright 2007 by the Publisher. All rights reserved. Retrieved 7/9/2012 from 7328466707 

keyword:  balance and scholarship


[HENNEBERGER, 1994] The attendant problems of concentration, memory loss and fatigue, which can often accompany inner-ear problems, actually develop because the brain is working so hard simply to keep the body upright that other brain functions are compromised.


The treatment is a home-exercise program custom-designed for each patient; it includes habituation exercises, like jumping, sitting up and lying down rapidly and turning in circles. The exercises are so simple that many patients are skeptical at first that they can work.


Vestibular rehabilitation is not for everyone. Some inner-ear disorders require medication or surgery. But practitioners say the success rate of this drug-free, risk-free treatment has made it one of the fastest-growing areas of physical therapy.

HENNEBERGER, MELINDA (1994, January 26). Exercise Therapy Can Help Dizziness From Inner-Ear Ills [Web article]. The New York Times.  New York Times Company. Copyright January 26, 1994 by the Publisher. All rights reserved. Retrieved 7/9/2012 from / 

keyword:  balance and scholarship


[Bauman, 2003] When you damage your vestibular system, keeping your balance is now largely a conscious effort, not the automatic effortless procedure it once was. Consequently, those areas of your brain that you once just used for thought and memory, now must constantly work on keeping you balanced. As a result, your memory may suffer. You may grope for words when talking. You may easily forget what is being spoken about during a conversation. You may be easily distracted. You may have difficulty comprehending directions or instructions. You may have trouble concentrating and may feel disoriented at times.

You may also experience fatigue because keeping your balance is now no longer a subconscious event, but something that you must consciously work hard to maintain. All this work makes you tired!

Vestibular damage may also give rise to muscular aches and pains. This is because when your vestibulo-spinal reflex no longer works automatically, you have to consciously control your balance by making your muscles rigid and less relaxed as you strain to keep your balance. In addition, you may get headaches and a stiff/sore neck from trying to hold your head absolutely still so you won't feel dizzy or nauseous.

Finally, damage to your vestibular system can include emotional problems such as anxiety, frustration, anger and depression. Your feelings of self-confidence and self-esteem may plummet. You may feel vaguely uneasy. You may feel that something is wrong or unreal without knowing why.

Bauman, Neil (2003). Protect Your Balance System—Or Else . . . [Web article].  Center for Hearing Loss Help. Copyright 2003 by the Publisher. All rights reserved. Retrieved 7/9/2012 from / 

keyword:  balance and scholarship


[Bauman, 2003] Memory problems can result because areas of your brain that were previously used for thought and memory, must constantly work on keeping you balanced. As a result, you may grope for words, forget what was just said, be easily distracted or have trouble concentrating.

Bauman, Neil (2003, revised 2013). Ototoxicity—The Hidden Menace, Part I: Lives in Upheaval [Web article].  Center for Hearing Loss Help. Copyright 2003 by the Publisher. All rights reserved. Retrieved 5/15/2013 from 636-922-7880 

keyword:  balance and scholarship


[Smetacek, 2005] Our daily doings are coordinated and run by a trinity of independent sensory systems: proprioception, vision, and the vestibular organs of the inner ear (which sense balance, momentum, and guide the eyes). Their signals are so tightly integrated that it is impossible to unravel them through introspection, a view which seems to favor vision as the primary sense organ of the mind. But whereas in the congenitally blind other senses more or less compensate for the loss, a child born without proprioception would not know it had a body and would be physically and mentally retarded as a result.

Smetacek, Victor; Mechsner, Franz (2005). Quotes from COGNITIVE SCIENCE: ON PROPRIOCEPTION [Web article]. (QUOTES FROM NATURE ARTICLE DOI:10.1038/432021a).  ScienceWeek. Copyright 2005 by the Publisher. All rights reserved. Retrieved 7/9/2012 from 681-212-6088 

keyword:  balance and scholarship main website coming Summer 2015.  Until then enjoy the Space Walk movie documenting simple and fun brain exercises and quotes from supporting research articles below.  Want more brain exercises?  I just helped my friend Paula Perron start her new website at, where you can find her recently-made-free! manual of 90 great brain exercises!    Cheers, David Matson