Masters Thesis

Exploring Classroom Breaks in a High School Chemistry Class

Finding the right balance between curricular rigor and student well-being is a tough skill for any teacher to master. Including breaks throughout class time is one strategy teachers use without always completely understanding its influence on their students. To better understand the influence of various types of breaks on my students during distance learning in my high school chemistry class, and to learn how I can best utilize class time to balance student well-being and academic learning, I investigated the research question: In what ways are students influenced by different types of breaks? To help focus my main research question, the following subquestions guided my inquiry: 1. What influence do various types of classroom breaks have on students’ feelings and emotions in my high school chemistry classroom? 2. What influence do various types of classroom breaks have on students’ focus and participation in my high school chemistry classroom? The two major findings suggest (1) all types of breaks studied have a positive influence on student feelings and emotions; (2) different types of breaks have different influences on students’ focus and participation, with free breaks often being disruptive to focus and participation, while some guided breaks help students better focus and participate.

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