Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development


The lives of today’s students are filled with video games, tablets, HD television, tweets, Facebook, smart phones, and ever increasing technologies. They have grown accustomed to the immediate feedback that technology provides and struggle to complete academic tasks that require persistence. Capturing and holding the attention of students is a daily goal of many educators yet the shrinking attention span and decrease in motivation in the school setting makes teaching and learning more difficult each year. This study explores strategies to motivate students and increase participation. It postulates that when students are actively engaged in the lesson, academic achievement and understanding increases. This four week research project was conducted in a ninth grade mathematics classroom with focused observation on four students. Measurable and observable data was collected and used to determine a student’s level of motivation and participation in class. Some characteristics of student behaviors included: whether the students put their head down, gave up on the assigned task, were off-task, asked and/or answered questions. Surveys of parents, teachers, and students revealed activities found to be motivating which were ranked and then utilized in the classroom study. Activities that increased student motivation and participation were noted. Positive behaviors were observed in all four students, such as asking relevant questions and answering questions, and increased when a motivating activity was implemented. Although the data did not change dramatically, there was a consistent change noted among all of the students involved. Conclusions affirm the use of motivational strategies to increase student participation.


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