Science Project:

Does Chewing Gum Help You Concentrate?

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Research Question:

  • Does chewing gum increase people’s speed and accuracy on simple cognitive tasks?

Educators have found that chewing gum can help children struggling with problems related to ADD/ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Is it possible that chewing gum can help all of us with focus and concentration?

Materials:

  • Computer, printer, and paper
  • Pencils for test-taking
  • Chewing gum
  • Timer
  • Test subjects
  • Paper and pencil for recording and analyzing data

Experimental Procedure

  1. Write and print copies (one copy per test subject) of two simple subtraction worksheets.
  2. Have subjects do each of the two worksheets. Subjects should chew gum while doing ONE of the worksheets.
  3. Record how long it took each subject to complete each worksheet.
  4. Score the worksheets for number of problems correct.
  5. Analyze your results. Did chewing gum increase people’s speed and accuracy on subtraction tests?
  6. Try the experiment in different environments, with different test subjects, and under different circumstances, keeping in mind these questions and any others that come up in the course of your research:
    • Does chewing gum make more of a difference in certain environments (e.g. noisy, crowded, or otherwise distracting environments)?
    • Does chewing gum make more of a difference to people of certain ages or genders?
    • Does chewing gum make more of a difference at certain times of day (e.g. early morning or late afternoon)?
    • Does chewing gum make more of a difference before or after certain activities (e.g. just before lunchtime or after physical exercise)?

Terms/Concepts: chewing gum, concentration, focus, ADD, ADHD

Author: Shelly Smith
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