In the classroom, “brain breaks should take place before fatigue, boredom, distraction, and inattention set in,” writes neurologist and classroom teacher Judy Willis, and that means they should be far more frequent. “As a general rule,” Willis continues, basing her conclusions on decades of research, “concentrated study of 10 to 15 minutes for elementary school and 20 to 30 minutes for middle and high school students calls for a three- to five-minute break.”
It was known from studies that spatial training improves math performance, but what in the spatial training exactly improved that math performance most. A new study revealed that:
age, use of concrete manipulatives, and type of transfer (“near” vs. “far”) moderated the effects of spatial training on mathematics. As the age of participants increased from 3 to 20 years, the effects of spatial training also increased in size. Spatial training paradigms that used concrete materials (e.g., manipulatives) were more effective than those that did not (e.g., computerized training). Larger transfer effects were observed for mathematics outcomes more closely aligned to the spatial training delivered compared to outcomes more distally related. None of the other variables examined (training dosage, spatial gains, posttest timing, type of control group, experimental design, publication status) moderated the effects
The ADHD study, published in Nutrients, found that a prescribed amount of caffeine may increase the attention and retention of people with the disorder. They made this discovery through animal models, finding the substance “increases capacity and flexibility in both spatial attention and selective attention, as well as in working memory and short-term memory,” .
The results so far have been positive, although the team is aware that some of the other symptoms of ADHD like hyperactivity and impulsivity may be exaggerated by caffeine. More research is needed, with the team suggesting it may just be appropriate when the symptoms are purely attentional based and should only be administered under appropriate medical supervision.
This article is from the latest Neuropsychologia and describes how fMRI can show what changes in the brain when you learn arithmetic. At the start of learning you need a strategy to work out a multiplication for which we use areas in the prefrontal cortex and the Intraparietal Sulcus and gradually you can more and more retrieve the answers from memory and activate other areas. These changes can occur already after a few weeks of learning. It happens that the changes in adults differ from the changes learning makes in the brain of children.
A new paper explores, among many other things, discussion of the prevalence of MA and the need for establishing external criteria for estimating prevalence and a proposal for such criteria; exploration of the effects of MA in different groups, such as highly anxious and high math–performing individuals; classroom and policy applications of MA knowledge; the effects of MA outside educational settings; and the consequences of MA on mental health and well-being.
The International Science and Evidence based Education (ISEE) Assessment is an initiative of the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP), conceived as its contribution to the Futures of Education process launched by UNESCO Paris in September 2019. In order to contribute to re-envisioning the future of education with a science and evidence-based report, UNESCO MGIEP embarked on an ambitious project of the first-ever large-scale assessment of the knowledge on education.
Research in the area of equivalence and the equal sign dates back decades, demonstrating students often possess misconceptions concerning the meaning of equivalence and the equal sign. Students often understand the equal sign to mean the answer comes next
Interesting research was done in Canada, the US and the UK to find out if there is a correlation between numeracy, how well people understand data about covid-19 and their behaviors. Here is the short:
Overall, results suggest that while basic numeracy is related to one’s understanding of data about COVID-19, better numeracy alone is not enough to influence a population’s health-related attitudes about disease severity and to increase the likelihood of following public health advice.
A new study published by Frontiers upsets assumptions about what needs to be taught in math class. Most of us think that skills like multiplication and division are learned, but a growing body of evidence suggests that some math skills are inherent.
The study findings indicate that even division is something children can do before formal education begins. This clearly has implications in how math may be taught in the future.
The foundation of the research is the approximate number system (ANS), a theory which states that humans and other primates have the ability to approximate large sets of objects without language or other symbolic interpretation.
Children with Dyscalculia can benefit greatly from the use of graphic organizers. Research shows that graphic organizers are a useful strategy for gifted and talented and special education populations, but really, all students can benefit from the multimodal learning that graphic organizers support. Graphic organizers are highly versatile. Students can draw them, digitize them, or adapt a teacher-designed template.
Research has confirmed that spatial skills are a great predictor for later math or stem achievements. PBS has been so kind to devote a whole page to some methods on how to get the children engaged and working on spatial skill development.
This new research found that spatially structuring the verbal mind is a promising cognitive correlate of the math anxiety and opens new avenues for exploring causal links between elementary cognitive processes and the math anxiety. What all of that means, you can read in the link for today below.
In short the research tells us that higher math anxiety predicts lower math achievement and when the researchers looked at what is contributing to the math anxiety, they found that the student’s perception of the capability of the math teachers can create math anxiety. In the words of the researchers as follows:
To better understand the contextual factors underpinning maths anxiety, Lau and colleagues analysed data from 1,175,515 students who participated in three large international studies of achievement. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that students in countries with higher levels of maths anxiety tend to achieve lower maths grades.
The strongest predictor of maths anxiety was how competent students perceived their maths teacher to be: those with less confidence in their teacher tended to feel more anxious. Being set large amounts of maths homework, and parental involvement in homework, also contributed to anxiety to a lesser degree.
New research used functional MRI to analyze patterns of brain activity corresponding to hundreds of familiar concepts and quantitatively characterized the informational structure of these patterns. The results indicate that conceptual knowledge is stored as patterns of neural activity that encode sensory-motor and affective information about each concept, contrary to the long-held idea that concept representations are independent of sensory-motor experience.
There has been much speculation about whether lower female participation rates in STEM fields can be traced to an innate male superiority in math and science. But a new University of Chicago study wanted to test whether boys and girls actually show different mathematical abilities at their earliest developmental stages.
SPOILER ALERT: The researchers found no major differences in numerical processing between genders, noting “these ﬁndings indicate that boys and girls are equally equipped to reason about mathematics during early childhood.”
All agree that numeracy is a solid predictor for later arithmatic skills however, there is no real consensus about what factors contribute to this or what that numeracy now really is. New research here looked at a number of published research articles on the topic and came with interesting points.
Great research here about the cognitive development of children coming into Kindergarten and their development in math and reading. It suggests that the mother’s education level is a factor more than social economic status when entering KG and the development thereafter.
The Early Math Collaborative has a great page explaining the notion of Precursor Math Concepts.
Just as the foundation of a building anchors it in the earth and provides essential support for the growing structure, in the first three years of life children engage in a very fundamental way with concepts that anchor a child’s mathematical thinking and are essential for the growth of further mathematics.
The ‘Build-A-Train’ task was developed and used to examine whether children spontaneously use a number or physical size approach on an un-cued matching task. In the Build-A-Train task, an experimenter assembles a train using one to five blocks of a particular length and asks the child to build the same train. The child’s blocks differ in length from the experimenter’s blocks, causing the child to build a train that matches based on either the number of blocks or length of the train, as it is not possible to match on both.
The Build-A-Train task and findings from this current study set a foundation for future longitudinal research to investigate the causal relationship between children’s acquisition of symbolic mathematical concepts and attention to number.
Children’s mental health and well-being are tied to their achievement in school. For elementary and middle school students, the classroom can be an overwhelming environment that may cause social pressure and performance anxiety.
As a result, mental health interventions are often needed to help address adverse effects, particularly for students of color who face the additional threat of negative stereotypes and biases about their ability to succeed academically, some experts say.
See the article in the link for today to find five ways to help your kids.
‘Groupitizing’ refers to the observation that visually grouped arrays can be accurately enumerated much faster than can unstructured arrays. Previous research suggests that visual grouping allows participants to draw on arithmetic abilities and possibly use mental calculations to enumerate grouped arrays quickly and accurately. Here, we address how subitizing might be involved in finding the operands for mental calculations in grouped dot arrays. We investigated whether participants can use multiple subitizing processes to enumerate both the number of dots and the number of groups in a grouped array. We found that these multiple subitizing processes can take place within 150 ms and that dots and groups seem to be subitized in parallel and with equal priority. Implications for research on mechanisms of groupitizing are discussed.
At the Ghent university in Belgium, they are planning a rather interesting project. They will review the relationship of executive function and dyscalculia. Here is what they say about it:
Dyslexia and dyscalculia are learning disorders with a high prevelance. They correlate strongly. A possible explanation can be found in the hypothesis of deficits in executive functioning. Therefore, this research maps out the profiles of executive functions. This is done by use of a comparative study existing of four groups: dyslexia, dyscalculia, a comorbid and a control group.
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