Date of Award
Action Research Project
Master of Arts in Education
Curriculum and Instruction
The purpose of this action research was to determine the effects of physical activity on reading and mathematics achievement on two first grade classrooms. The intervention took place over a period of four weeks in a public school setting with 38 students. Data was collected using teacher feedback, student self-assessment, a teacher log, and weekly reading and mathematics probes. Our results show that reading scores slightly improved after the intervention while mathematics scores stayed fairly consistent. Both first-grade teachers reported that they would continue to use physical activity prior to academic instruction in their classrooms because it helped students to focus and get their bodies and brains ready to learn. The student self-assessment revealed most first graders enjoyed the activity breaks and thought the breaks helped them to focus. Altogether, it appears physical activity before academic instruction had a positive impact on student achievement. Looking ahead, students will have more input on the types of activity breaks used within their classroom. Teachers can also educate their students and other colleagues on how physical activity can help students achieve greater outcomes. Further research topics include determining what type of breaks, calming compared to cardiovascular; have the greatest impact on student achievement.
Earney, Chelsey; Berg, Emily A.; and Wallert, Jill M., "The Effects of Physical Activity on Reading and Mathematics Achievement in an Elementary Classroom" (2015). Masters of Arts in Education Action Research Papers. 102.