Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)


Graduate Education

First Advisor

Patricia C. Kornelis


This action research project explored the effects of brain breaks on student engagement. The participants in this study were 22 eighth-grade students in a language arts classroom at a public middle school in Northwest Iowa. Students were observed to determine engagement for the last 18 minutes of class. A no-treatment period was observed in order to create a baseline, followed by a treatment period to demonstrate any increase or decrease in overall student engagement. The treatment consisted of a three-minute brain break implemented half-way through the class period. These breaks included two minutes of physical activity followed by one minute of relaxation and breathing. A trained observer used a running record to note engagement data for each student. The students were surveyed following the observation period. The results of this study indicated an increase in engagement when brain breaks were used. The results of the survey indicated positive student perceptions toward brain breaks. Due to the positive results, the teacher in this study plans to continue using brain breaks in her classroom.


Action Research Report Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Education