The relationship between morning physical activity and student engagement in an elementary school setting

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Isaac, Cheryl Kathleen
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The problem under investigation in this mixed-methods study is the relationship between a morning physical activity intervention and subsequent student engagement in academic activities in an elementary school. The physical activity intervention was a fifteen minute period of hall walking and gym running for the entire school population at 9:05 a.m. The study participants included four randomly selected students in each of seven classrooms. Teachers and an educational assistant observed and recorded the students' levels of engagement at the same time period for eight consecutive school days without the morning physical activity followed by ten days with the physical activity. Interviews were also conducted with the teacher and educational assistant to provide more detailed information from their observations. Quantitative data analysis using a one-tailed paired t-test resulted in a finding of statistical significance. Qualitative data analysis also demonstrated increases in observed engaged behaviours after the activity condition. The merged data suggested that morning physical activity may result in increased engagement in subsequent academic activities.
physical activity, student engagement