ERIC Number: EJ1106569
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Abstractor: As Provided
Learning Mathematics in a Visuospatial Format: A Randomized, Controlled Trial of Mental Abacus Instruction
Barner, David; Alvarez, George; Sullivan, Jessica; Brooks, Neon; Srinivasan, Mahesh; Frank, Michael C.
Child Development, v87 n4 p1146-1158 Jul-Aug 2016
Mental abacus (MA) is a technique of performing fast, accurate arithmetic using a mental image of an abacus; experts exhibit astonishing calculation abilities. Over 3 years, 204 elementary school students (age range at outset: 5-7 years old) participated in a randomized, controlled trial to test whether MA expertise (a) can be acquired in standard classroom settings, (b) improves students' mathematical abilities (beyond standard math curricula), and (c) is related to changes in basic cognitive capacities like working memory. MA students outperformed controls on arithmetic tasks, suggesting that MA expertise can be achieved by children in standard classrooms. MA training did not alter basic cognitive abilities; instead, differences in spatial working memory at the beginning of the study mediated MA learning.
Descriptors: Mathematics Education, Randomized Controlled Trials, Spatial Ability, Mental Computation, Number Concepts, Manipulative Materials, Teaching Methods, Mathematics Curriculum, Arithmetic, Elementary School Students, Elementary School Mathematics, Mathematics Achievement, Short Term Memory, Mathematics Tests, Expertise, Cognitive Ability, Mathematics Instruction, Foreign Countries
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: India
Grant or Contract Numbers: 0910206