|Playful Thoughts: A Study of the Effects of 'Logical Journey of the Zoombinis' on Elementary Students' Mathematical Attitudes and Reasoning Skills|
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Pockets: Neurosciences and Education, Psychology in Education, Cognitive Studies in Education, Mathematics Education, Mathematics, Science & Technology, Teachers College Program Collections
Tags: administration, Cognitive, Education, Elementary, mathematics, psychology, technology
Description/Abstract: The subjects of this controlled experiment were 64 male and 80 female third- and fourth-grade students, their parents and classroom teachers, all of whom came from public school districts on Long Island, New York. Subjects were administered two measurement instruments pre- and post-test: the Math Attitude Survey (MAS), adapted from the instrument designed by the Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt (CTGV) to assess its Jasper Woodbury series; and the Math Performance Test (MPT), comprised of 19 problems taken from the 1999 Grade 4 and Grade 8 New York State Math Assessment Tests. Students were placed into one of three groups: a control group, a treatment group in which subjects completed workbooks containing math problems; and a second treatment group in which subjects played the interactive CD-ROM game, Logical Journey of the Zoombinis. Additional data on math attitudes were collected from surveys of parents and teachers. Data on the frequency and type of mathematics instruction in subjects' classrooms were collected using the Teacher Instruction Report (TIR). The study presents an analysis of the mathematical reasoning skills required for successful play of Logical Journey of the Zoombinis and connects these reasoning skills to a discussion of cognition, deductive reasoning, hypothesis testing, and mathematical reasoning as it appears in the literature. The study concluded that: (1) Play of Logical Journey of the Zoombinis was a statistically significant factor in the regression model used to explain the variance in the change in students' reactions to 2 of the 16 attitude statements included in the MAS. (2) Few significant correlations were found between students' attitudes toward mathematics and those of their parents. Logical Journey of the Zoombinis was found to improve students' attitudes on one measure where a significant pretest gap existed. (3) Play of Logical Journey of the Zoombinis or completion of workbooks could be linked to improvements in less than one-half dozen of the regressions run for the six measures taken on the MPT. The final chapter discusses the factors that contributed to a lack of strong central tendencies in the results and makes suggestions for improving further studies of the game.