Science Project:

Does Chewing Gum Make You Smarter?

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Objective:

This experiment will evaluate if chewing gum affects students’ test performance.

Research Questions:

Does chewing gum improve students’ test performance?

Introduction:

Studies indicate that chewing gum may help improve academic performance. This experiment will test this premise by evaluating whether chewing gum helps students perform better on a series of mental challenges.

Materials:

  • Gum
  • Approximately 40 test subjects
  • Several mental tasks (eg, medium-level Sudoku puzzle, multiplication test, etc)
  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Notebook for analyzing results

Experimental Procedure

  1. Put together several mental tests to give to your test subjects. Make sure that each task that you put together can be easily altered. You want the test to look different to your test subjects each time they take it (try not to alter the difficulty of each test when you revise them).
  2. Divide your test subjects into two groups. One group should first perform the tasks while chewing gum, and the other group should first perform the tasks without gum.
  3. Ask one group to chew gum while completing the tests. Record the time it takes for each test subject to perform each mental task.
  4. On another day, ask them to repeat the tests without chewing gum. Remember to slightly alter your mental tasks so that they appear “new” to your test subjects. Record the time it takes for each participant to complete the tests.
  5. Reverse steps 3 and 4 for your second group of participants. This group should be tested without gum on the first day, and tested with gum on the next day. Remember to slightly alter your mental tasks from one day to the next so that they appear “new” to your test subjects.
  6. Analyze your results. Under which set of circumstances did test subjects perform each mental test fastest? Do you observe any patterns in your data? Does chewing gum seem to enhance or slow the speed at which the tasks are completed?

Concepts: chewing gum and academic performance

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