Optimizing a Students Day

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Why does this matter?

Student Health and Effectiveness

Sleep and a social life. The great balancing act for teenagers. A good school schedule will give time for both, a poor one, time for neither. In this project I set up a matrix to try to figure out the optimal school schedule, and the length of classes in said schedule.
The implications of these changes are fairly simple, the earlier in the morning generally the more tired and less productive students are, but also get too late in the day and no one pays attention. What is the perfect schedule?

Game Set up

Matrix Justifications

Based on my research on optimal starting times everything said that students should get 8-10 hours of sleep and that sleep from 6:00-7:30. So generally the later start the better, however I also found a lot of research stating that there was not much of a difference for starting between 8:30 and 9:00. This is why my values for the students are equal in both of those columns. I valued the 1 hour blocks as a 1 across the board for the school because it makes scheduling easy and everyone knows where they are supposed to be. However there are downsides, different classes require a different amount of time per day. Learning a language takes repetition every day for a shorter amount of time, while lab work like chemistry you can do every other day for a longer amount of time. This type of schedule doesn’t account for this and treats every class the same. 90 minute blocks have the same problem except with 90 minute blocks you probably couldn’t even fit all the classes into every day which is why the payout decreases with each time period.

Solution and Conclusion

Solution: The solution to this game ended up being fairly obvious as 50-90 minute classes and an 8:30 start time gave the highest payout to both the school and the student. This would be Pareto optimal and the Nash equilibrium of the game.


Conclusion: Through this project I learned a lot about sleep and student attention spans and scheduling. I think that all three are very related in terms of this topic and they all have the highest effect on the students’ performance. The solution to the game made logical sense to me, it gives the school the maximum amount of time to teach while also allowing students to have plenty of time to rest. The 50-90 minute varying blocks allowed for flexibility within the schedule so that classes that require more time can have it. Thank you for reading, have a great day.


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