Date of Award


Document Type

Action Research Project

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education



First Advisor

Amy Adams


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.

Included in

Education Commons