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Is Breakfast Necessary?

Katie Nash, Markie Clift, Paul Elsmore, Ryan Humbert FD SCI 200

As a college student one is expected to live up to certain academic standards. To meet these standards many students look for various techniques to give them that academic edge. This search has yielded a debate as to whether or not breakfast has a positive effect on a students academic ability.

Testing Phase: In order to determine whether eating breakfast has an impact on academic standing, the study would have to test a persons problem solving skills with and without breakfast. In order to do this, each test subject was asked to consecutively go with or without breakfast over a four-day period; during which they were subjected to three separate tests. The test pool consisted of four subjects tested over the four-day period. At the conclusion of the testing period all data was collected and analyzed.

Hypothesis: Test #1 Eating breakfast will yield higher academic scores and provide an overall higher mental alertness than if an individual were to forgo breakfast. The first test consisted of ten random trivia problems taken from a 4th grader trivia booklet. It was assumed that this could provide consistent results; unfortunately, it turned out that the results reflected the
Feb. 15, 2011 | FD SCI 200 1

subjects knowledge of trivia rather than the effect that breakfast had on them. The person could not know something they had never learned regardless of whether they had breakfast or not. Due to this unplanned development the results of this particular test had to be thrown out as inconclusive. Test #2 Due to the failure of the first test a new test was developed that required the test subject to solve as many simple math The third and final test consisted of equations as they could in under a minute. It three mazes rated for difficulty: easy, was believed that this test would be able to medium, and hard. (Figure #3, 4, 5) avoid the problems that were encountered with the first test because it did not require the tested to have any previous knowledge other than the most basic of math skills.
30 25 20 15 10 5 0

Simple Math Problems

Without Breakfast With Breakfast

Figure 2: Math Skills Results

Test #3




18 9 20 + 2

Figure 1: Sample of the Math Skills Test

This test was successful in providing a less biased test with more consistent results. (See Figure #2)
Figure 3: Easy Difficulty Maze

Feb. 15, 2011 | FD SCI 200

twice; each set completed once for with and without breakfast results. (See Figure # 6, 7)

Without Breakfast
160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0

Easy Medium Hard

Figure 4: Medium Difficulty Maze

Figure 6: Maze Data, Without Breakfast

With Breakfast
160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0

Easy Medium Hard

Figure 5: Hard Difficulty Maze

Figure 7: Maze Data, With Breakfast

Each test subject would run each maze, timing how long it would take to complete each maze. The mazes were run

After the testing period and data collection was complete a definitive result could be reached.

Feb. 15, 2011 | FD SCI 200

Analysis: Test #2 The results of the Math Skills Test showed that the testing pool averaged about 18.5 problems per minute without breakfast, and 23 problems per minute after eating breakfast. (See Figure #2) Test #3 The subjects in the Maze Test showed a similar trend with their results. The results of the mazes taken without breakfast averaged:

Conclusion: The correlation between the results and whether or not the subjects had breakfast indicates that eating early does appear to increase focus and ability. However this studies test group was too small to effectively use as definitive proof that breakfast does indeed increase academic standing, but it does show that the hypothesis does have potential.

Easy: 12.75 sec Medium: 42 sec Hard: 90.5 sec

Maze results without Breakfast

The test for the mazes with breakfast averaged: Comparative Studies:
Easy: 9.75 sec Medium: 34.5 sec Hard: 79.75 sec Maze results with Breakfast


Feb. 15, 2011 | FD SCI 200