# Breakfast and School Performance

Easy

## Science Fair Project Description

This science fair project was performed to find out if having breakfast every morning will help to improve the performance of students in school. The students’ performance was tested by giving them memory tests and comparing the performance of those who had breakfast with those who had skipped breakfast.
 Complexity level: 4 Project cost (\$): 200 Time required: 1 hour for preparation, 21 days for experiment Material availability: Easily found Safety concerns: None

## Hypothesis

Students who eat their breakfast in the morning will exhibit better memory retention.

## Overview

Breakfast and school performance

Many experts share the opinion that having breakfast every morning is beneficial to students’ performance in school. Children who eat a healthy breakfast every morning were found to have better concentration and learn better in class. They were also found to be more energetic as compared to students who did not have breakfast regularly.

According to a study by researchers from Harvard, students who ate a healthy breakfast in the morning showed improved results in Mathematics. These students became more attentive in the classroom and exhibited less behavioral and emotional problems. However, there was no significant change in their reading abilities. There was also significant improvement in the attendance and punctuality of the students.

The students who did not have breakfast every morning before school were found to be more hyperactive and showed more signs of anxiety and depression as compared to the students who had their breakfast daily.

## Scientific Terms

Hyperactive, anxiety, depression

## Materials

The materials required for this science fair project:

-    12 students (age 10)  who do not take breakfast daily
-    50 random unique objects – e.g. orange, watch, calendar, pen, table, umbrella, banana, book, mirror, etc.
-    1 stopwatch
-    24 sheets of paper and pencils
-    Breakfast supply for 12 students for a period of 21 days (e.g. bread, cereal, milk)
-    2 curtains, bedsheets or large pieces of material

## Procedure

1.    For this science fair project, the independent variable is whether the students have had breakfast every day. The dependent variable is the ability of the students to recall a list of objects they had previously seen. This is determined by asking them to write down the names of the objects that they had seen. The constants (control variables) are the number of objects, the time given to look at the objects and the time given to write down the list of objects.

2.    Separate the objects into 2 groups of 25 each. Arrange the first set neatly at the front of a classroom, and the second set at the back of the classroom. Then, cover each set of objects with a curtain so that none of the participants will be able to see them before the test.

3.    Interview some students and select 12 students who do not have their breakfast every morning.

4.    Bring the 12 students to the classroom and remove the curtain at the front of the classroom to reveal the first set of 25 objects to the students. Allow them to view the objects for 2 minutes while an assistant notes the time with a stopwatch. Cover the objects after 2 minutes and give each student a sheet of paper and a pencil for them to write down a list of what they recall seeing. Collect the papers after 10 minutes. Record the number of correct objects recalled by each participant in a table, as shown below.

5.    Give all 12 participants free breakfast for the next 21 days. On the 21st day, repeat step 4, recording the new results in a table, as shown below.

## Results

The results show that the students were able to recall the names of more objects after taking their morning breakfast for 21 days.

 Condition Effect of breakfast on number of objects that can be recalled 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 No breakfast 12 6 9 11 8 12 10 8 11 7 9 11 With breakfast 16 12 14 16 14 17 15 13 15 12 15 16

&The above results were then plotted onto a graph, as shown below.

## Conclusion

The hypothesis that students who eat their breakfast in the morning will have better memory retention, has been proven to be true.

We are always trying to find ways to improve the performance of students in school. School plays a very important role in our lives as this is where we learn many of the skills that are required for us to lead a successful and meaningful life. In order to perform well in school, we need to lead a healthy lifestyle and have a balanced diet, and certainly, we should remember to have our  breakfast every day.

## Also consider

The science fair project can also be done using participants of a different age group.

The experiment may be repeated on a select group of students who do not have a habit of having their breakfast regularly. Provide free breakfast to them for a month. Compare their attendance, discipline and exam results before and after they start having breakfast regularly.

## References

The relationship between breakfast and school performance - http://www.all-science-fair-projects.com/science_fair_projects/28/331/8171dbf5aac59dce1ffdf3761cacd26c.html
Study of eating breakfast and school performance - http://www.knackonline.org/information/articles/study-of-eating-breakfast.php