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ERIC Number: EJ1085874
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jan
Pages: 27
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0731-9258
Learning about Surface Area through a Digital Fabrication-Augmented Unit
Corum, Kimberly; Garofalo, Joe
Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, v35 n1 p33-59 Jan 2016
Surface area is consistently identified as a curriculum standard for K-12 students and it regularly appears on national and international assessments. Recently, many schools began acquiring digital fabrication and advanced manufacturing equipment. The growing use of digital fabrication in classrooms raises the question of whether or not this technology can be used to improve students' understanding of surface area. The specific question we explore in this paper is: How did participation in a digital fabrication-augmented surface area unit affect 5th grade students' ability to solve surface area tasks? Fifth-grade students used FabLab ModelMaker and die cutters to create three-dimensional cubes and rectangular prisms from cardstock, which were then used during classroom instruction to help students develop conceptual understanding of surface area. Students were assessed with a project-made pretest and posttest, consisting of open-ended tasks. Students showed marked improvements in their ability to complete surface area tasks following the digital fabrication unit. The unit provided students with opportunities to develop effective strategies that allowed them to recognize qualities of three-dimensional figures that cannot be seen in a two-dimensional representation ("Seeing What's Not Visible") and to effectively carry out multi-step processes ("Keeping Track").
Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education. P.O. Box 1545, Chesapeake, VA 23327. Tel: 757-366-5606; Fax: 703-997-8760; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 5; Intermediate Grades; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Virginia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A