Center for Educational Transformation

Motion Virtual Manipulatives in the Elementary Math Classroom

Sarah Diesburg

Sarah Diesburg

Adam Feldhaus

Adam Feldhaus

RESEARCHERS:

PROJECT DURATION: 2015-17

ABSTRACT: Manipulatives are a powerful tool to help students grasp the foundational concepts of mathematics. This is especially true of elementary school mathematics when it is integral that students learn mathematical concepts and how they can be used to solve problems and compute solutions. One way to introduce manipulatives into the elementary school classroom and increase student engagement with STEM-based technologies is through the use of motion-sensing input devices such as the Microsoft Kinect. These devices interpret user movements and translate the movements into a gaming environment displayed on a screen.

The researchers propose to create an environment where students use motion-sensing input devices to interact with mathematics manipulatives in an engaging environment. The goal of this project is to create a new toolset that will be called motion virtual manipulatives (MVMs). MVMs will:

  • introduce manipulatives into the elementary school classroom using motion-sensing input devices,
  • be an effective tool for teaching core mathematical concepts, and
  • potentially reach students who do not respond to typical mathematics instruction.

This software will be available at little to no cost to students or teachers. Once developed, the researchers will take the program into schools to evaluate it with the intent of improving the software and expanding implementation to other grade levels, mathematical manipulatives, and school settings. 

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