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ERIC Number: ED548937
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 123
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2677-5353-3
The Development of Embodied Representations of Numerical Understanding through Gameplay
Clark, Colin Travis
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles
Young children must develop basic concepts of numeracy--one being that numbers have magnitudes that increase linearly--before they are able to succeed in mathematics. Children from low-income families have been found to be at a greater disadvantage in the development of numeracy, but this disadvantage can be overcome through the use of a simple board game (Siegler & Ramani, 2009). It has been shown that the linear representation of numbers in this game is essential to building numerical understanding, but what cognitive processes are employed in this game and lead to its effectiveness? Previous research has shown that the use of gesture can promote more advanced understandings of abstract mathematical concepts. Based on theories of embodied cognition (e.g., Barsalou, 1999), implicit representations of the problems are made more accessible through their physical enactment. Therefore, the physical engagement of children with the game system, specifically the linear manual advancement of tokens, may serve to enhance children's development of a linear understanding of numbers. Experiment 1 sought to address this question. A pretest/posttest design was used to assess changes in numerical understanding in a sample of low-income preschoolers. All participants played a board game, based on Siegler and Ramani (2009), for a total of one hour, divided into 15-minute sessions over a period of four weeks. One group of participants played the boardgame in the usual fashion, advancing their own tokens across the board, while another group observed while an experimenter moved their tokens for them. Minimal increases in numerical understanding were observed in both groups, though this increase was greater for those who had moved their own token. Experiment 2 was conducted to better understand the results obtained in Experiment 1, as well as to examine the effect of format of the game, digital versus physical. The game used in Experiment I was converted into a digital format, playable on a laptop computer. Participants interacted with the game tokens in one of three ways: they either moved the tokens with the mouse (a directional movement), moved the tokens with a keypress (nondirectional movement), or the tokens were moved by the experimenter (observation, no movement). The other procedures were the same as in Experiment 1. As with the first experiment, minimal increases in numerical understanding were observed in Experiment 2, though there was no effect of condition. The results are discussed in comparison with previous studies. Practical implications for the intervention and significant covariates are also discussed. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A