Date of Award

8-2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education

Department

Education, Leadership and Public Service

Program

Reading (BT)

First Advisor/Chairperson

Christi Edge

Second Advisor

Derek Anderson

Third Advisor

Judith Puncochar

Abstract

A three-day action research study in a kindergarten classroom investigated the question: “Does physical movement prior to a cognitive skills task improve academic achievement with addition facts?” Fifteen kindergarten students, who are ethnically similar, yet diverse in socioeconomic status and academic ability, experienced addition fluency assessments using the iPad app, MathBoard (PalaSoftware Inc., 2014). A pre-test was administered before students participated in an optional movement break activity consisting of dance videos. Each movement break lasted approximately 8-10 minutes. After the break, students completed a similar addition post-test. In this quantitative study based in a constructivist framework, three types of data were collected including: time and accuracy scores for the assessment, observational notes about test discrepancies, and observational notes recording participation levels during movement breaks. Small groups of students were tested once per day during one of three time periods: early morning, early afternoon, and late afternoon. The combination of speed and accuracy demonstrates fluency within a subject, and were analyzed both separately and together to examine change within the results. Speed and accuracy increased a small amount over the course of the three-day study, but these increases may be un-related to the brain breaks and physical movement that students experienced. Results were mixed on an individual level for both speed and accuracy, and fluctuated over the course of the study.

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