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TESTING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF MATHEMATICAL GAMES AS A PEDAGOGICAL TOOL FOR CHILDREN’S LEARNING

  • Leicha A. BraggEmail author
Article

Abstract

In an effort to engage children in mathematics learning, many primary teachers use mathematical games and activities. Games have been employed for drill and practice, warm-up activities and rewards. The effectiveness of games as a pedagogical tool requires further examination if games are to be employed for the teaching of mathematical concepts. This paper reports research that compared the effectiveness of non-digital games with non-game but engaging activities as pedagogical tools for promoting mathematical learning. In the classrooms that played games, the effects of adding teacher-led whole class discussion was explored. The research was conducted with 10–12-year-old children in eight classrooms in three Australian primary schools, using differing instructional approaches to teach multiplication and division of decimals. A quasi-experimental design with pre-test, post-test and delayed post-test was employed, and the effects of the interventions were measured by the children’s written test performance. Test results indicated lesser gains in learning in game playing situations versus non-game activities and that teacher-led discussions during and following the game playing did not improve children’s learning. The finding that these games did not help children demonstrate a mathematical understanding of concepts under test conditions suggests that educators should carefully consider the application and appropriateness of games before employing them as a vehicle for introducing mathematical concepts.

Key words

achievement tests decimals games mathematics mathematical learning pedagogical tools 

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Copyright information

© National Science Council, Taiwan 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Arts and Education, School of EducationDeakin UniversityBurwoodAustralia

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