Regular breaks throughout the school day—from short brain breaks in the classroom to the longer break of recess—are not simply downtime for students. Such breaks increase their productivity and provide them with opportunities to develop creativity and social skills.
Students, particularly young ones, often struggle with staying focused for long periods of time. In a 2016 study, psychologist Karrie Godwin and a team of researchers measured how attentive elementary students were during class, and discovered that they spent over a quarter of the time distracted, unable to focus on the teacher or the current task. Shorter lessons, however, kept student attention high: Teachers found it more effective to give several 10-minute lessons instead of fewer 30-minute ones.