Children can often be limited in expressing their robust mathematical ideas using written language on paper. But what if children were provided with another type of language to show their thinking?
In this project funded by the National Science Foundation, EDC is examining how computer programming, integrated with core mathematics content, influences elementary students’ mathematical and computational thinking. As part of the project, EDC is developing programming microworlds for students in grades 3 through 5 as well as instructional resources to support teachers. The microworlds use the block-based programming language Snap! and are accessible in multiple languages. The project seeks to better understand the role of computer programming in helping young students build, explore, and refine their mathematical ideas.
In collaboration with its partners, EDC is carrying out the following activities:
- Develop microworlds focused on core mathematics content in grades 3 through 5, including multiplication, fractions on a number line, and decimals
- Pilot microworlds and solicit feedback from students, teachers, instructional coaches, and administrators on design and usability
- Create a free and customizable generic microworld format within the block-based programming language Snap!
- EDC has fully developed and tested seven microworlds that are available online for classroom use.
- Over 150 students and 17 teachers have participated in ongoing professional development and the implementation of the microworlds in their classrooms.
- Other programmers and educators have created their own microworlds based upon the generic infrastructure developed within this project and our related project Think Math+C: Integrating Programming into a Comprehensive K–5 Mathematics Curriculum
Horizon Research, Inc.