This 5-minute video game makes kids much better at math
Scientists increased kindergartener’s performance on formal arithmetic issues with a fast, enjoyable game that worked out kid’s intuitive ability to approximate numbers.
The effects of the game, though not yet shown to be long lasting, at least challenge the perception that mathematics ability is static which somebody who s bad at mathematics now is most likely to continue to be bad at it.
We used a five-minute game to change kid’s mathematics performance, says Jinjing Jenny Wang, a graduate student in mental and brain sciences at Johns Hopkins University.
It’s not only adjustable, it can be changeable in a very short amount of time, includes Wang, whose findings are released online by the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology.
Human beings and animals are born with an instinctive ability to compare amounts and show this understanding as babies. For example, when presented with a choice in between a plate with a couple of crackers and another with more, even a child without counting and even knowing how gravitates to the option with more.
This instinct about numbers is called the brain s approximate number system.
Although this primitive sense of number is inaccurate and rather different than numerically exact mathematics, research studies have shown the two abilities are connected.
For instance, researchers from the same Johns Hopkins research group as Wang have demonstrated that a strong early gut sense of approximate number can anticipate mathematics ability that emerges later when a child participates in school.
Previously, however, no one has actually revealed that grooming that digestive tract sense might make a child much better at math.
That’s the big concern, Wang says. If we can enhance people’s instinctive number capability, can we likewise enhance their math capability?
How the video game works.
The scientists developed a five-minute computer game to train the intuitive number sense of 5-year-olds. Blue dots and yellow dots flashed on a laptop screen; 40 children were asked to say whether there were more blue ones or yellow ones and to do so quickly, without counting.
After correct responses, a pre-recorded voice told them that are right. After incorrect answers, they heard, Oh, that s not right.
A few of the kids began with simpler issues that gradually became harder. Other kids began with the hard ones, and a 3rd group worked through a mix of tough and simple issues.
After the dots video game, scientists offered each kid a vocabulary quiz or a mathematics test, and to write down numbers.
Though scientists spotted no modification in any of the children’s vocabulary abilities, the kids who performed the dots video game in the correct training fashion most convenient to hardest scored much greater on the math test, getting about 80 percent of the answers appropriate.
The kids given the hardest dot problems very first got simply 60 percent of the mathematics test right, while the control group kids who got the mix of easy and difficult concerns scored about 70 percent.
It was clear that improving the children’s number sense with the game helped their math scores, at least in the short term, states Lisa Feigenson, teacher of mental and brain sciences and a senior author of the study. The next action will be to find out if there’s a method to use the strategy for long lasting outcomes.
These findings highlight the sense where core cognition, seen across types and across development, serves as a foundation for more sophisticated idea, Feigenson says. Obviously, this raises the question of whether this kind of quick improvement lasts for any considerable duration, and whether it improves all kinds of mathematics abilities. We’re thrilled to follow up on these concerns.
The National Institutes of Health funded the research study.