Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Education Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Heather Erwin

Second Advisor

Dr. Aaron Beighle


The relationship between students’ physical activity (PA) and on-task behavior in the classroom setting was examined. Given that students spend nearly half of their waking hours in school, researchers have suggested that the school environment could play a crucial role in increasing children’s PA. Physical activity of 157 first- and second-grade students was assessed using ActiGraph (GT1M) accelerometers during school hours. Momentary time sampling (MTS) tracked the on-task behaviors of 72 of the 157 participants every 30 seconds. Multiple linear regressions and paired sample t tests were run to measure students’ classroom PA steps, PA intensity levels in the classroom, and on-task behaviors. Results indicated weak, yet significant, inverse correlations between students’ PA steps, PA intensity levels, and on-task behaviors (R =.40, R2 = .16, p = .01). On-task behaviors and steps taken in the classroom before recess indicate a significant inverse relationship (R = -.18, R2 = .03), indicating the pre-recess classroom steps account for 3% of the variance in on-task behavior. Steps taken in the classroom indicate a significant inverse relationship (R = -.20, R2 = .04) with on-task behavior. The results from the linear regression analysis after recess indicate that the post-recess steps can account for approximately 4% of the variance of the on-task behavior. These overall results suggest that greater PA levels in the classroom setting were associated with less on-task behavior. Results from the t test indicate a significant (t(143) = -4.32, p < .001) increase in on-task behavior (3%) after recess. In conclusion, the present study demonstrated that 84% of the variance in on-task behavior is accounted for by non-PA suggesting that other variables may affect students’ on-task behaviors in the classroom setting.