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Breakfast by Cameron and Ashley

We keep hearing how important it is to eat a good breakfast. We know some of our friends skip breakfast once in awhile. We wondered if eating breakfast really makes a difference in how well you do in school. Our question: Does skipping breakfast affect how well we do on tests?

What did we do?
We got all of our friends in class to help out. For three days in a row, we asked everybody to make sure they had breakfast. Then everybody took two tests: a short memory test and a number recognition test. We averaged everybody's score. Then, on the fourth day, half the class agreed to skip breakfast while the other half agreed to eat breakfast as usual. Everybody took the memory and number tests again. We looked for dramatic changes in the scores of the "no breakfast" group.

What did we find out?
Our results were a little surprising! On the first three days almost everybody kept the same score on the two tests. But on day four, everybody's number recognition test score jumped way up! And the people who skipped breakfast increased their score even more than those who ate breakfast! So does that mean skipping breakfast is good for you? We didn't think so. We were taking the tests in the morning, before anybody could get really hungry. We want to try the test again, this time taking the tests later in the day before lunch.

What can you do?
  • There are a lot of factors that could affect your score on a memory test, like how much sleep you get, if you exercise and whether or not you eat healthy foods. Design an experiment to test just one of these factors.
  • You can test your own short-term memory. Have a friend write a list of fifteen ordinary words on note cards. Have the friend show you each card, one at a time, for just one second for each word. After you've seen all the words, try to write down as many as you can. Make up a list for your friend to try.
  • When are you most alert in school? First thing in the morning or after you've had a chance to wake up a bit? Pay some attention to how you are feeling each hour of the school day. If you know there is a time of day when you have a hard time focusing, try to make positive changes in your eating or sleep habits.
  • Use this human body investigation as a science fair project idea for your elementary or middle school science fair! Then tell us about it!
more resources
More on behavior.

Go to the DFTV Boards, and tell us about your science investigation.
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