The Test Cracker


The productive silence that befalls our classroom during crunch-time, aka a quiz, test or quest (quiz/test) has been broken…again.

Did a student fall off their chair? Were papers being crumpled in frustration? Was there an earthquake?


The noise came from a ‘test cracker’ nobly serving its purpose in our class, and it’s a sound that students love to hear. About 5 to 10 minutes into ‘showing what they know’, a familiar rustle of the cracker box is followed by whispers of thank you and you’re welcome. Pleasantries aside, nibbles, then crunches, and it’s back to the work at hand. Since my move into home-room 4 years ago, ‘test crackers’ have served a higher and better purpose. One that is far beyond their status of hunger-gap-filling-cheese-delivery-devices.

How could a cracker make a difference? (my quasi-science weighs in)

Wishing I could use the line; “Trust me I’m a scientist”, but I am only finding limited, if not coincidental academic support inside other research in the area of Brain Base Learning. So, I am going to speak from my experience and observation as a quasi-scientific study.

My hypothesis: When students have something to crunch during a quiz, test or quest they are more likely to relax, and therefore achieve greater success when they partake in the ‘test cracker’ provided.

Materials: A quiz, test, or quest. Cracker or crunchy consumable food from a peanut free facility. Carrots work too somehow.

Procedure: Schedule an assessment of learning, initiate said assessment, ensure hands are wiped clean (pants make a good napkin), open cracker box, distribute, observe and support where needed.

Observations: Isn’t this what we do as teachers each day? Our ability to observe, adjust and redirect is uncanny. It’s no different in the area of “test crackers”. I’ve noticed that these crunchy little classroom supports take the edge off of our students during potentially anxious moments each time they are handed out. Whether it is the salt, the multi-grains, the crunch or all three, the ‘test cracker’ is a brain changer. When a learner’s brain is relaxed (not feeling a sense of danger due to threat or anxiety) then s/he is set-up for a greater chance of success. This is because a brain that is relaxed is more capable of recall, understanding, application and thought when it is not in an anxious state. Nuff said.

Remember when I wrote that there hasn’t been a lot from the Scientific Community about crunch.

Still nothing unless it’s was about how packaging design preserves freshness or an old Doritos commercial. 

Further Resources and Reading

C: Crunchy and chewy foods are one of the best kept secrets when it comes to foods that help kids focus.

Practical Examples of Brain Based Learning Strategies. (slide 42)

-The rest of this is presentation is a great primer for BBL in the classroom.


– Art concept, layout and production around ‘test cracker’ by Yolanda H.(Gr 6)
– Red Pepper multi-grain cracker by President’s Choice

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