Training the equidistant principle of number line spacing
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The characteristics of effective numerical trainings are still under scientific debate. Given the importance of number line estimation due to the strong relation between task performance and arithmetic abilities, the current study aimed at training one important number line characteristic: the equidistant spacing of adjacent numbers. Following an embodied training approach, second-graders were trained using a randomized crossover design to divide a presented line into different numbers of equal segments by walking the line with equally spaced steps. Performance was recorded, and feedback as to the correct equidistant spacing was provided using the Kinect sensor system. Training effects were compared to a control training with no involvement of task-specific whole-body movements. Results indicated more pronounced specific training effects after the embodied training. Moreover, transfer effects to number line estimation and arithmetic performance were partially observed. In particular, differential training effects for bounded versus unbounded number line estimation corroborate the assumption that not only bodily experiences but also the need for a flexible adaption of the perspective on the training material might influence training success. Hence, more pronounced training effects of the embodied training might stem from different cognitive processes involved.
KeywordsMental number line Equidistance Number line estimation Bounded/unbounded number line estimation task Mathematical skills
Tanja Dackermann, Korbinian Moeller and Hans-Christoph Nuerk were members of the “Cooperative Research Training Group” of the University of Education, Ludwigsburg, and the University of Tuebingen, which was supported by the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts in Baden-Wuerttemberg and which served as a funding body of this study. Korbinian Moeller and Hans-Christoph Nuerk are principal investigators at the LEAD—Learning, Educational Achievement, and Life Course Development—graduate school which is supported by the German research foundation. We would like to thank primary school teachers for their cooperation and all children and their parents for participation. Furthermore, we are grateful to Leona Steinack for her help in data acquisition.
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