Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Health, Sport and Exercise Science (PhD)

Degree Level



Health, Human Performance and Recreation


Erin K. Howie and Dean Gorman

Committee Member

Allison A. Boykin

Second Committee Member

Jack Kern


activity, breaks, classroom, executive, function, physical


Objectives: There were three aims in conducting this pilot study. First, determine the Plus Minus Task assessment's reliability to measure the executive function of shifting. Second, determine the feasibility and acceptability of CPAB by students and teachers. Finally, determine the preliminary dose-response of acute physical activity on shifting in elementary students. Methods: This was a pilot study of a classroom physical activity break intervention. Utilizing a withinsubject, cross-over design, students participated in a practice day and then all three treatment conditions: a 10-minute seated lesson (control condition) and 5 and 10 minutes (experimental conditions) of classroom physical activity breaks. A Latin Square Design was employed to randomize the treatment conditions by classroom. Students participated in two treatments each week over two weeks. Data was collected through parent/guardian pre-study questionnaires and pre and post-tests of the Plus Minus Task. All methods and procedures were approved by the University of Arkansas Internal Review Board. Letters with information regarding this study were sent home to parents/guardians alerting them to the opportunity to participate along with their child. Consent and assent forms were made available to both parents and students to review and consider participation. Students who returned signed parent consent and student assent forms were allowed to participate. Participating teachers also signed consent forms. Both teachers and students participated in a post-study questionnaire and focus group interviews. Results: To our knowledge, this was the first study to find that the Plus Minus Task was a reliable test measure for assessing shifting in children aged 10 to 12. We also discovered that students enjoyed CPAB, looked forward to school on days they had CPAB, and expressed that these breaks helped them feel more awake and alert for future learning. Teachers were supportive of incorporating physical activity breaks in the future but time and specific benefits associated with activity breaks were

concerns regarding future implementation. Lastly, it was determined that neither 5 nor 10 minutes of classroom physical activity promoted a positive change in a student's shifting ability when compared to a 10-minute seated activity. Conclusions: This study found that students support CPAB and feel they are beneficial to their learning environment. We also determined that the Plus Minus Task was a reliable assessment tool to use with school-aged students to measure the executive function skill of shifting. Finally, while we did not find that acute physical activity positively affected students' shifting abilities, research should continue to investigate the impact classroom physical activity has on students' learning environment. CPAB provides students an enjoyable way to receive more physical activity during the school day while feeling more awake and on-task for future learning.