Date of Completion


Embargo Period



physical activity, engagement, school-based intervention, single-subject design, withdrawal design

Major Advisor

Dr. Thomas Kehle

Associate Advisor

Dr. Melissa Bray

Associate Advisor

Dr. Shamim Patwa

Field of Study

Educational Psychology


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Less than half of U.S. children and adolescents receive the recommended daily amounts of physical activity (PA). Schools can be an ideal setting for increasing PA in our youth, though many school leaders are concerned that increasing time for PA would be costly or would negatively affect students’ achievement scores. However, studies show that PAs can be conducted in the classroom without any additional equipment or personnel. Further, school-based PA has had a positive impact on student cognition and academic engagement, as well as on achievement over time. This study extended previous research in this area by observing students and tracking changes in TOT (time-on-task) rates over longer periods than has been done previously. Student’s on-task behavior was recorded during 45-minute periods following both inactive baseline and active intervention conditions. The intervention consisted of 10-minute PA breaks led by the teacher in the classroom. Higher overall rates of on-task behavior were observed during the intervention condition than during baseline. In addition, it appears that PA also positively impacted time-on-task throughout the full 45-minute observation period. These findings will be valuable to schools when deciding whether or not to implement brief breaks for PA during the school day.

Available for download on Thursday, May 01, 2025