Grade Level: 6th to 8th; Type: Social Science
This experiment will evaluate if the environment that people work in affects their ability to perform mental tasks.
- Does work environment affect mental performance?
Some types of work environments may be better at supporting mental focus and performance. In this experiment, students will evaluate whether certain environments influence the speed and accuracy of test subjects that have been asked to perform a series of mental tasks.
- Large room
- Small room
- 2 rooms of equal size
- Items to clutter a room
- Approximately 20 test subjects
- Several mental tasks (eg, medium level Sudoku puzzle, multiplication test, etc)
- Timer, watch or clock
- Notebook for analyzing results
- Put together several mental tests to give to your test subjects in each environment. Make sure that each task that you put together can be easily altered between environments. 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).
- Find a large room, a small room and two equally-sized rooms to perform your analyses. The large room and the small room should have a minimal amount of furniture. One of the equally-sized rooms should be cluttered with furniture, while the other should have a very minimal amount of furniture.
- In the large room, record the time it takes for each test subject to perform each mental task. Evaluate test subjects individually so that you can get an accurate time for each participant.
- Repeat step 3 in the small room, the cluttered room, and the tidy room. Each time you switch rooms, remember to slightly alter your mental tasks so that they appear “new” to your test subjects. Also, don’t use the same order of environments for each test subject (eg, start some in the large room, start some in the small room, etc).
- Analyze your results. In which environment did your test subjects perform each mental test fastest? Most accurately? Do you observe any patterns in your data? Do certain work environments seem to enhance or slow the speed at or the accuracy with which the tasks are completed?
Terms/Concepts: work environment, what affects work efficiency?