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Pay Attention!

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Author: Melissa Bautista

Grade Level: 6th- 8th; Type: Social Science

Objective:

What are effective strategies to help students stay awake and attentive? Have students try these strategies in class and interview them regarding the effectiveness.

Research Questions:

  • Are there physical strategies? Taking breaks. Allowing students to snack/drink during class? Taking notes?
  • Are there environmental strategies? Keeping the classroom colder?
  • Is it the instructor's duty to keep students' attention by engaging them? Allowing group discussions to increase participation?

We are taught that in order to do well in school you must be attentive. However, there are no lessons in paying attention. With the surge in ADD/ADHD diagnosis it is important to develop focusing skills. Strategies to help students with ADD/ADHD focus can also benefit traditional learners by enhancing their abilities.

Materials:

Teacher's approval to experiment during class time.

Experimental Procedure:

Develop a list of strategies from your background research to test. In this experiment you will need to recruit students who normally get bored in class.  

  • Have students test each strategy in the same class to eliminate variation in experimental design. For example:

Have each student take a 5 min. break for every 30 min. in class. (You may need to get the instructor's approval). This can be a quick bathroom break, time to stretch and get fresh air, or to just sit quietly.

Have each student take notes. Note taking requires great attention. While taking notes you are also reinforcing the lesson and committing it to your memory.

With the teacher's approval set the temperature to 60-65F. People are more apt to relaxing and sleeping in warmer temperatures.

  • Have the students answer a questionnaire based on your background research. For example:

On a scale of 1-5 rate the following:

1 – disagree

2 – somewhat agree

3 – neither disagree nor agree

4 – somewhat agree

5 – agree

After a 5 min. break I felt refreshed and ready to work again. Once I started working I was more attentive and focused.

Taking notes helps me pay attention.  

Taking notes helps me better understand the material.

I don’t feel so tired when the temperature of the room is cold.

Sitting in a cold room makes it difficult to concentrate.

  • Draw conclusions from your results. Which strategy worked? Which strategy did not work?  

Terms/Concepts: Attention; Focus; ADD/ADHD; Why do we lose focus? What are the main contributors?

References:

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