4347 Views
  1. Jessica Young
  2. http://www.ym.edc.org
  3. Principal Research Scientist
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Education Development Center
  1. Lindsay Clements
  2. https://www.linkedin.com/in/lindsayjclements/
  3. Research Associate
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Education Development Center
  1. Tara Fitzgibbons
  2. Education Manager
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Greater Lawrence Community Action Council
  1. Nicole Penney
  2. Coach
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Greater Lawrence Community Action Council
  1. Kristen Reed
  2. https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristenreededc/
  3. Senior Project Director
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Education Development Center
  1. Deborah Schifter
  2. Principal Research Scientist
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Education Development Center
Public
Choice

Young Mathematicians: Expanding an Innovative and Promising Model Across Lear...

NSF Awards: 1907904

2021 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades K-6

The Young Mathematicians (YM) project aims to address the critical need for a model of early mathematics instruction that provides teachers and families with instructional materials and supports to promote preschoolers’ mathematics knowledge while narrowing opportunity gaps. YM contributes to the goal of enhancing the learning and teaching of early mathematics in order to build a more capable workforce and STEM-literate citizenry. Preparation for the STEM-workforce must start early, as young children’s mathematics development undergirds their cognitive development, building brain architecture, supporting problem-solving, puzzling, and persevering, and strongly impacting and predicting future success in school. Yet far too many children enter kindergarten lacking the foundational mathematics skills needed for academic success. This design and development project is transforming the mathematics learning environments of preschool children from under-resourced communities through a cross-context school-home intervention. Working in partnership with Greater Lawrence Community Action Council (GLCAC), YM and GLCAC promote strong school-family partnerships and parent-child communication by supporting parents to extend their children’s learning at home. YM, in collaboration with teachers and families, uses a formative design approach to co-create, test, and refine mathematics activities to ensure they are engaging and enjoyable for users, which is especially critical during this global health crisis that has exacerbated existing inequalities. Ultimately, we will develop a program that is designed especially for early childhood educators and families that has been systematically tested and is ready to scale up to an impact study with dissemination at a broad level.

 

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Discussion from the 2021 STEM For All Video Showcase (43 posts)
  • Icon for: Jessica Young

    Jessica Young

    Lead Presenter
    Principal Research Scientist
    May 10, 2021 | 06:47 p.m.

    Welcome to our Young Mathematicians (YM) page and thank you for viewing our video!

    In collaboration with Head Start programs, teachers, and families, this design and development project is connecting preschoolers’ mathematics learning environments—at home and at school—through fun, intentionally designed, early math games and resources. Our team is interested in your feedback and having a discussion related to these topics:

    • Teachers, we are excited to hear from you about how you engage families in early math. What strategies have you used that worked well?
    • Parents and caregivers, we would love to hear about ways you support your child’s math learning. How have you played with math at home?
    • Researchers and program directors, what successes and challenges have you had in your work to provide equitable teaching and learning opportunities in early math?
    • What other comments, feedback, and questions do you have for us?

    Check out our website www.ym.edc.org to access our math games and learn more!

     
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  • Icon for: Carolyn White

    Carolyn White

    Higher Ed Administrator
    May 12, 2021 | 11:43 a.m.

    The work that has been done by you on Young Mathematicians is so wonderful and organized on the website.  The missing link to success in early mathematics is the critical thinking, spatial reasoning, Big Ideas, literature connections, and continued reinforcement at home.  The state  I am doing math coaching in has lots of Spanish speaking students.  Do you have lessons developed to support  bilingual teachers and parents?  I did see the videos for at home. The missing link for me is not enough materials for bilingual students.  I look forward to your response.

     
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  • Icon for: Kristen Reed

    Kristen Reed

    Co-Presenter
    Senior Project Director
    May 12, 2021 | 01:59 p.m.

    Hi Carolyn,

    We agree that there needs to be more materials for emergent multilingual children, and their families and teachers. We have been working with our partner teachers and families to produce game directions and game videos in Spanish, Portuguese, and English. We are excited to say that those should be available on our website this summer.

    Thank you!

     
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  • Icon for: Carolyn White

    Carolyn White

    Higher Ed Administrator
    May 12, 2021 | 02:47 p.m.

    Hi Kristen,

    Thank you for your reply.  I look forward to viewing additional activities this summer.

     
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  • Icon for: Dionne Champion

    Dionne Champion

    Facilitator
    Research Assistant Professor
    May 11, 2021 | 09:05 a.m.

    Great video! Thank you for sharing this inspirational work. A lot of parents and teachers are hesitant when it comes to engaging in math with their young children because of their own negative relationships with it.  Did you face any challenges in getting teachers or parents to participate in the program? How did you get them excited about doing the math?  

     
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  • Icon for: Nicole Penney

    Nicole Penney

    Co-Presenter
    Coach
    May 11, 2021 | 01:03 p.m.

    Hi Dionne, 

    Thanks for watching! My job as a Head Start coach is to support the teachers. The teachers are the ones who have been responsible for getting the parents involved and explaining the importance of early math in childhood.  Some parents were hesitant at first but we really owe it to our teachers for being consistent and communicating with our parents.  

    As for teachers who are hesitant you heard Sandra speak on this topic how she was really hesitant and nervous teaching math.  Partnering with the Young Mathematicians and EDC makes these games so easy and simple to understand and that it puts the teachers' hesitation at ease. 

    Thanks, Nicole

     
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  • Icon for: Jessica Young

    Jessica Young

    Lead Presenter
    Principal Research Scientist
    May 11, 2021 | 02:02 p.m.

    Hi Dionne,

    This is a very important question, and one that we weren't able to touch on as much in the video. But as Nicole mentioned, as part of YM, we have worked to support teachers to develop positive math mindsets and provided family engagement resources for teachers including math games for families to play at home. We use the games as a bridge to encourage the adults to feel confident in their ability to support their children’s math learning. We have seen that when the adults in children’s lives see the joy and excitement their children have while playing with the games and exploring math ideas, the families often become more excited to continue to spark their child’s natural curiosity about math.

    To build math confidence among teachers, we have developed as part of our professional learning sessions a strand that supports both adults’ and children’s approaches to math learning. For example this resource that encourages persistence at challenging tasks: Mastery Motivation: Persistence and Problem Solving in Preschool | NAEYC. We have also created family resources such as our short “mini-books” that children can take home in their backpack and read and color with their families to encourage a growth mindset toward learning Printable Mindset Mini-books – Young Mathematicians (edc.org)

    Thank you for this question!

     
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  • May 11, 2021 | 09:35 a.m.

    Thank you so much for sharing this work. I'm inspired. Students' math comfort and confidence seem so important for their in-school and out-of-school math engagement, and the students and families here are smiling and loving these mathematics experiences.

    I loved hearing parents' enjoyment of math. Have parents shared with you which resources were most helpful to them in playing math games with their children or getting started?  I am always interested in how to best support parents and families who speak other languages at home, and so I was wondering if the videos of the games, the written instructions, or their child's own interest (or something else!) were more or less helpful in getting them started. Translating materials to different languages sounds like a great idea, but when school districts have 30+ languages spoken at home (and may have limited funding for translations), I was wondering if there were other ways that parents were inspired or most supported or if parents have shared their ideas about they appreciated most.

    Experiences like this go a long way to encouraging students to love mathematics, patterns, and play. Thank you so much for sharing this work!

     
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  • Icon for: Jessica Young

    Jessica Young

    Lead Presenter
    Principal Research Scientist
    May 11, 2021 | 10:17 a.m.

    Great question! We developed our resources in partnership with a district whose families speak more than 50 languages and feedback from parents was that they would like to have short videos (in addition to instructions with more visuals) that help them understand the game rules and how to use the materials. In addition, parents have reported to us that when their children learn the games at school, they bring the game home and are so proud to show their family and siblings how to play. Parents felt that this really helped to give their children a sense of confidence and build their own enjoyment of the math play. Parents even mentioned that their children would call/facetime their grandparents in other countries to show them what they are learning! We think that bridge between home and school is critically important in supporting children’s learning—and games are a great way to build that bridge!

     
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  • Icon for: Tara Fitzgibbons

    Tara Fitzgibbons

    Co-Presenter
    Education Manager
    May 11, 2021 | 10:18 a.m.

    Hi Jill,

    Thank you so much for reaching out, we are so thrilled you enjoyed our video! We are so proud of our Teachers! In regards to your question, the feedback we received from our parents was that they would like to have videos that showed how to play the games in order to help them understand the game rules and how to use the materials. In addition, when children learn the games at school they can bring the games home and show their parents and siblings how to play, which helps to give them a sense of confidence and creates a true family engagement learning opportunity. We were also fortunate to have the materials translated into Spanish and Portuguese which represents the community we serve. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on the discussion board! 

     
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  • May 11, 2021 | 04:10 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing this work and for making your materials publicly available. I am interested to use these kind of games in a summer math camp we are planning, and I love that you have designed them to be easy to play at home. Have you done any work around having teachers use these games for formative assessment? It seems like it could be a good way to both observe and support young children's mathematical development.

     
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  • Icon for: Kristen Reed

    Kristen Reed

    Co-Presenter
    Senior Project Director
    May 12, 2021 | 09:54 a.m.

    Hi Caroline,

    Thank you for your interest! Yes, many teachers use these games for formative assessment. We worked with teachers to create formative assessment "Look For" resources to use to help observe and record young children's thinking. We heard from teachers that playing these games made it so much easier for them to complete the assessment tools (Teaching Strategies Gold or Work Sampling) that their programs required three times a year.

    After watching the children in their classrooms play these games, many teachers reported that they were surprised how much their children knew and how much mathematical thinking they were capable of. And they reported surprise at how much the children loved the math games! You can learn so much about what children know by paying attention to their thinking while playing these games.

    We also designed scaffolding into each game so that the game can "grow" with the child. By adding a few variations you can easily increase or decrease the challenge.

    On a side note, one of the games, Roll One and Roll Two (also known as Two Numbers and commercially as Shut the Box), we originally used as part of a formative assessment toolkit for Kindergarten teachers.  

     
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  • Icon for: Sabrina De Los Santos

    Sabrina De Los Santos

    Facilitator
    Research and Development Associate
    May 12, 2021 | 02:08 a.m.

    What a wonderful and insightful project! I can relate to this work and I appreciate your connections between schoolwork and the home environment. I am working on several projects engaging families of young children in math talk and engineering activities through games and daily life activities. Many of our families are Spanish-speaking and have busy schedules. They gave us similar feedback about enjoying interactions with short videos and multiple modalities. Have your families provided ideas on what types of games they would like to play? Also, what are your plans to scale up the program?

     
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  • Icon for: Kristen Reed

    Kristen Reed

    Co-Presenter
    Senior Project Director
    May 12, 2021 | 10:22 a.m.

    Hi Sabrina, 

    Thank you for you for reaching out! You ask a great question about the feedback we've gotten from families about what games they like. Here are a few things that we've heard.

    1. Many families have loved having the same materials at home as their children are using at school. Children are able to be the "expert" and teach their families the games and many parents have been amazed at how much their children know. It also provides parents a window into their children's classroom and another connection to have meaningful conversations with teachers about children's learning. 

    2. Games that can be played on the move--while on the bus or waiting for an appointment--are invaluable. Families are busy. While they love to be able to sit down and play a game together, sometimes days it's hard to find the time. For those occasions, parents have particularly loved the game Numbers, Numbers, 1, 2, 3. In this game, you hold up a certain number of fingers, let's say 3. And ask "How many do you see?". You can hold up three fingers on one hand, hold up 2 fingers on one hand and 1 finger on the other, there are lots of combinations and even more combinations when you get to higher numbers. Children can then take over the game and ask the grown-up to say how many fingers they are holding up.

    3. Reading books. Families love having math books they can read together. We have several math mini-books that teachers and parents can download for free. We also love the new storytelling math books published by Charlesbridge in collaboration with TERC and with a grant from Heising-Simons. 

    4. Families, and especially the children, make up their own games. One of the most rewarding things we've found is that once families start playing with math, they can't stop. Children will make up their own games, other family members will contribute their own variations, and it becomes one of the ways families enjoy their time together. 

    And yes, we do have plans to scale-up! We just started working with New Path Learning to produce and publish the math game materials. They will still be available at no cost on our website, but schools and families can also purchase them pre-made from New Path Learning this fall. 

     

     
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  • Icon for: Jessica Young

    Jessica Young

    Lead Presenter
    Principal Research Scientist
    May 12, 2021 | 05:03 p.m.

    Hi Sabrina,

    I'd love to hear more! What have you noticed about the kinds of early math/engineering games and everyday activities that have resonated with your families?

    In addition to what Kristen mentioned, we have heard from families and teachers that one thing that has been so eye-opening (and exciting!) is when they realize that they can turn everyday moments like cooking, baking, sorting/putting away dishes, etc., into math moments. Have you heard from families about any everyday activities they've turned into math moments? 

    Thanks again for your interest!

     
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  • Icon for: Stephanie Martin

    Stephanie Martin

    Director of Mathematics Education Outreach
    May 13, 2021 | 03:04 p.m.

    Kristen and Jessica, thank you for the additional links and ideas (and Sabrina for prompting the question).  Exploring mathematics through play, games, movement, and everyday experiences are so important to developing mathematics.  It is also exactly what I was looking for to support some districts and families in our area.  It must have been a lot of fun testing out these ideas with young minds.  Thank you for making them available and for the New Path Learning connection.  

     
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  • Small default profile

    Roseli Pita

    Undergraduate Student
    May 12, 2021 | 07:19 a.m.

    Early learning of mathematics will help us for life. Math is never wrong. This is a great video, thank you to share with us. 

     
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  • Icon for: Kristen Reed

    Kristen Reed

    Co-Presenter
    Senior Project Director
    May 12, 2021 | 10:24 a.m.

    Thank you Roseli!

     
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  • May 12, 2021 | 09:57 a.m.

    Hello YM team and visitors to this great project!

    You mentioned some ways the games include adaptations or levels of play for learners as their understanding develops. I'm curious to learn how are you creating or mapping the game levels to mathematical and cognitive development--are you using learning trajectories or other tools? Sharing that kind of framing seems like it could really support how teachers and caregivers engage with students around these games.

     
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  • Icon for: Lindsay Clements

    Lindsay Clements

    Co-Presenter
    Research Associate
    May 12, 2021 | 10:29 a.m.

    Thanks for this question, Daniel!

    Yes, we use learning trajectories and other research (e.g., Clements & Sarama, 2009/2013; Erikson's 'Big Ideas'; our own previous YM research findings) to guide the design and development of our games and game materials. We have our games loosely categorized into beginner, intermediate, and extra challenge levels based both on the games' cognitive demands and game play demands (length of game, attention and patience, etc.) but we frame these levels on a trajectory of game play rather than age. Many of our games also incorporate multiple math topics (e.g., both counting & cardinality and data collection & analysis) into their design so we're intentional in our balancing -- or not balancing -- of the challenge level in each game's math foci.

    We also meet with our partner teachers during professional development sessions to talk with them about mathematics LTs and "Look For's" (see Kristen's note to Caroline above), and also to have open discussion about what mathematical knowledge and growth looks like in their classrooms. Our partner teachers are really fantastic(!) and their feedback, photos, and videos helps us adjust the games to be practical, fun, and of course full of math.

     
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  • Icon for: Jessica Amsbary

    Jessica Amsbary

    Researcher
    May 12, 2021 | 05:15 p.m.

    This work is so important! I am curious whether you are also working on simple math games for infants and toddlers and whether you have found the need to make adaptations for any children with differing abilities? Thanks so much for sharing!

     
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  • Icon for: Kristen Reed

    Kristen Reed

    Co-Presenter
    Senior Project Director
    May 12, 2021 | 07:24 p.m.

    Hi Jessica, 

    Thank you for your question! The work you and your colleagues are doing with STEMIE is so important! I have frequently pointed it out to the parents, teachers, and Head Start programs we work with. 

    We are starting to add simple math games for infants and toddlers and suggestions for adaptations for children's with different abilities and would love to talk to you all about your strategies. The families and teachers we work with have identified this as a huge need. One of our partner organizations runs Parent-Child playgroups and a Parent Child+ home visiting program that include a lot of infants and toddlers.They have been thrilled to learn more about the math learning trajectories and early math concepts because they discovered that they were already doing a lot of math without realizing it! Knowing about the early math learning trajectories has made them more intentional about the activities they plan, how they use storybooks, and about supporting math talk at home. 

     
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  • Icon for: Jessica Amsbary

    Jessica Amsbary

    Researcher
    May 18, 2021 | 07:56 p.m.

    Thanks, Kristen! Yes, we would love to connect and collaborate on our efforts. We are also thinking along the lines of integrating learning trajectories (for math and science, technology, & engineering - currently in development at STEMIE) into toddler/caregiver playgroups so would love to compare notes. Let's plan to chat soon!! 

  • Small default profile

    Arileida Mateo

    May 12, 2021 | 08:43 p.m.

    excellent work!

     
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  • Icon for: Kristen Reed

    Kristen Reed

    Co-Presenter
    Senior Project Director
    May 12, 2021 | 08:45 p.m.

    Thank you!

     
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  • Icon for: Remy Dou

    Remy Dou

    Facilitator
    Assistant Professor
    May 13, 2021 | 01:03 a.m.

    Comments: This is a wonderful video, and more importantly, a truly inspiring project! I was especially moved by the testimonials of parents and teachers. It's exciting to know that much of this content will be available on the web and accessible to both pre-school educators and parents. Thank you for sharing!

    Questions: I'm especially curious about the connections between your activities and both parents and home life. You mentioned in an earlier comment that families would modify games or come up with new ones. In what ways has this informed the development of your work? I'm also wondering about the ways that parents and teachers interacted. How were parents encouraged or motivated to further their children's learning through games at home?

     
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  • Icon for: Lindsay Clements

    Lindsay Clements

    Co-Presenter
    Research Associate
    May 13, 2021 | 09:24 a.m.

    Hi Remy! To piggyback on Tara's comment, from the game development side, we heard from parents -- both before the pandemic and especially during -- that they were interested in making everyday family activities like laundry, meal and snack, and riding the bus into intentional math learning opportunities.

    We took that feedback in and have been working to (1) make new versions of existing games using household objects as the game materials, and (2) create new games that have very flexible materials (e.g., you can play the game with pattern blocks, dot cards, laundry items, or pieces of a fruit salad). This process involves various pivots and iterative design conversations with both teachers and parents. In particular, Nicole, our Head Start Instructional Coach extraordinaire, has worked with us to design math games and activities to follow their program's curricular scope and sequence. This has allowed us to plan ahead and have both a classroom materials game and a parallel home materials game available for their upcoming math topics and themes (e.g., patterns and simple machines). The home materials games have also worked well for virtual learners; children can attend their virtual classrooms and watch their teachers model an activity using classroom items, while sitting with a parent or grandparent and using simple household items to follow along.

     
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  • Icon for: Nicole Penney

    Nicole Penney

    Co-Presenter
    Coach
    May 13, 2021 | 10:00 a.m.

    To add to Lindsay‘s comment when the pandemic happened we wanted parents to use materials at home that was no cost to them.  The team from EDC altered some of their games to reflect other items in the home. For example when we were working on size attributes in the classroom teachers usually use counters in various sizes. But in the home parents can use socks or spoons to get the same result.

    The teacher that was featured in our video, Sandra kept open communication with her parents. She alongside her co-teacher communicated through a messaging app. They asked parents to post pictures and videos of their children playing the games and also answered any questions as well.

     
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  • Icon for: Remy Dou

    Remy Dou

    Facilitator
    Assistant Professor
    May 14, 2021 | 12:22 p.m.

    This is very cool and informative. Thank you for taking the time to share!

     
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  • Icon for: Tara Fitzgibbons

    Tara Fitzgibbons

    Co-Presenter
    Education Manager
    May 13, 2021 | 06:45 a.m.

    Hi Remy,

    Thank you for your interest! As a Head Start program, family engagement is embedded in our roots. Monthly, we provide parent engagement activities which create opportunities for teachers and parent to connect. Throughout this project, Teachers encouraged and supported parents with the instruction and implementation of the games (in person and often through zoom). As parents shared their successes with the games and how their children were so proud to express their knowledge in the early mathematics; the relationships between the Teachers and parents simply thrived!!!

     
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  • Icon for: April Bartnick

    April Bartnick

    K-12 Teacher
    May 13, 2021 | 09:24 a.m.

    This is such a great project! I love how you use so many manipulatives. It's so important to get kids engaged with math at a young age. Do you use specific interventions with struggling learners?

     

     
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  • Icon for: Nicole Penney

    Nicole Penney

    Co-Presenter
    Coach
    May 13, 2021 | 09:35 a.m.

    Hi April, 

    What’s so great about these games is they can easily be modified to meet the needs of the learner. For example, when playing with a dot card game they can use numbers one through five or less. Compared to a more advanced learned who can utilize the higher numbers.  We also focus on the simpler topics first like attributes, shapes, and numbers first before moving on to more complex topics like measurement, spatial relationships, and data analysis.

     
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  • Icon for: Lindsay Clements

    Lindsay Clements

    Co-Presenter
    Research Associate
    May 13, 2021 | 09:49 a.m.

    Thank you, April! Although we don't align our materials to a particular learning or behavioral intervention, we do design them to be as inclusive as possible (keeping the principles of UDL in mind). As Nicole noted, this helps children who are at all differences places in their mathematics growth engage with our program. We're also mindful that many young children are emerging language, emerging multilingual, developing their motor and fine motor skills, and/or have particular sensory preferences or needs. In our games' direction sheets and instructional videos, we offer alternate ways for children to engage or respond (e.g., show fingers instead of verbalizing) and we offer several games that explore math through movement, dance, and sound.

    That being said, we are always interested in new and better ways to serve our diverse mathematicians! As a teacher, have you found any strategies to be especially useful for engaging struggling learners in math? We value your experiences and expertise!

     
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  • Icon for: Valerie Fitton-Kane

    Valerie Fitton-Kane

    Vice President, Development, Partnerships, & Strategy
    May 14, 2021 | 01:56 p.m.

    Looks like a great way to engage young children in math! What are your plans to scale the program?

     
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  • Icon for: Kristen Reed

    Kristen Reed

    Co-Presenter
    Senior Project Director
    May 15, 2021 | 12:17 p.m.

    Hi Valerie, 

    Thanks for watching our video! We do have plans to scale-up. We just started working with New Path Learning to produce and publish the math game materials. They will still be available at no cost on our website, but schools and families can also purchase them pre-made from New Path Learning this fall. 

    We are also working with to create a model that other programs can replicate and working with our partners to find good strategies to help sustain the work. 

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    Sylvie Wilson

    Undergraduate Student
    May 16, 2021 | 09:07 p.m.

    This is such an incredible project! Thank you for all your work! I've seen so many students and teachers just like Ms. Gomez was before this program: afraid of math (which just shouldn't be happening!). Our education system has created an atmosphere around math that's very cut and dry; you either understand it, or you don't.

    But we all know that's not the case! I started working part time for the American Institute of Mathematics along with my school work specifically to combat that kind of thinking and to try to make math less intimidating and more accessible to everyone. I love that this program fosters children's natural curiosity and creates a playful environment around math. Instead of math being something to be afraid of, you're teaching children from a very young age to enjoy it (and even find it as something to look forward to). 

    Other than saying a big thank you (!!!) for doing this important work, I have a few questions. Have these games been more successful in home or in preschool environments? I'm curious about how the more social aspect of preschools (and the almost inevitable competition that follows) might affect children's motivation to learn or play these games. How often do you find children who struggle with these games giving up because they're "not good at it" or worse than another student/sibling?

     
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    Jessica Young

    Lead Presenter
    Principal Research Scientist
    May 18, 2021 | 07:28 p.m.

    Hi Sylvie!

    These are great questions! The nice thing about these games is that it actually allows the child to be the "expert" and bring the games home to their families and share their understanding of how to play the game. We have had parents report that their children have even been able to play the role of expert with their older siblings, as they show them how to play!

    Another key part of our work is promoting persistence at challenging activities--particularly in math.  We think that our math games are great examples of challenging tasks that encourage children to solve problems in a goal-directed way. They can be used repeatedly and the level of challenge can be varied as children learn. The game structure engages children and allows autonomy in their choices or “moves” within a game. Teachers play an important role in helping to promote mastery motivation—or persistence at challenging tasks—by choosing challenging games, scaffolding support for children as they learn to play the game, and providing positive feedback.

    To support teachers, we have developed as part of our professional learning sessions a strand that supports both adults’ and children’s approaches to math learning. For example this resource that encourages persistence at challenging tasks: Mastery Motivation: Persistence and Problem Solving in Preschool | NAEYC. We have also created family resources such as our short “mini-books” that children can take home in their backpack and read and color with their families to encourage a growth mindset toward learning Printable Mindset Mini-books – Young Mathematicians (edc.org). This also supports families use of the games as a fun way to practice math skills without the fear of getting something wrong or making a math mistake. Since a major part of preschool is supporting children's SEL, the games provide an authentic context to keep practicing those social emotional skills, including winning and losing graciously! We do encourage teachers and parents to keep playing the games, including trying different variations of the game or trying a new game and then returning to previous games. We encourage teachers and parents to support children's mastery motivation by using the “Power of Yet” and responding to a child who might say "I can't do this" with "Maybe you can't do this yet but if we keep playing, or try a different strategy you can get better.” Thank you for these great questions!

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    Alina Pollner

    Undergraduate Student
    May 17, 2021 | 06:21 p.m.

    I wondered if these games (though the video seemed to include both genders) were targeted specifically at boys or girls? Or were they designed to be gender neutral? If they were used in a school environment, and they were labeled as "math games" would boys be more likely to play with them as compared to girls? 

     
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    Jessica Young

    Lead Presenter
    Principal Research Scientist
    May 18, 2021 | 06:00 p.m.

    Hi Alina,

    What an interesting question! We have studied student outcomes and we haven't found any differences by gender on our math outcomes. We also didn't find any significant differences in how frequently the boys and girls played the games. However, we did find that when children played the games on average more than 5 times (we had sticker charts to track game play, so when children played a game-e.g., one game play session-they got a sticker on the chart) children had better math outcomes. However, this is a great question--and something to really think about. We have incorporated picture books into our intervention, as many teachers really like introducing the math concepts using picture books--and this is a very helpful engagement strategy for both boys and girls. We are mindful to include activities that are attractive to both boys and girls and that could be modified to align with different themes. For example, in Craft Shop -- creating patterns using art materials--children could use pompoms to create bracelets or headbands, or caterpillars and bugs--of course the learning goal is that children are creating, extending, and transferring patterns but they have autonomy to choose what they would like to craft. Providing autonomy definitely helps with interest and engagement! Thank you for this question!

     
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    Natalia Yanez Castillo

    Graduate Student
    May 17, 2021 | 10:19 p.m.

    What a thoughtful project! I can relate to the importance of providing materials in different languages, so families who speak a language other than English can meaningfully help their kids. I also found very valuable that there is an explicit connection between school and home - SO NEEDED! I would love to know what are some things you have noticed from students who can use what they learn at school and continue to work with it at home. Great job!!

     
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    Jessica Young

    Lead Presenter
    Principal Research Scientist
    May 18, 2021 | 05:48 p.m.

    Thank you for your question Natalia! In one of our studies we actually found that the quality of the teacher-child interaction improved (as measured by the CLASS on the Instructional Support domain) for the intervention that included the family engagement component. The key difference in this intervention was that the child brought the games and mini-books home with them. We think that this additional learning at home also supported higher quality conversations and engagement in the classroom, as the children became more confident and competent using the games! It was hard to quantify, as we weren't able to measure what was happening at home, but this was a very interesting finding as the intervention that didn't include family engagement, and only math PD, didn't make as big a difference in this domain. Thank you for your question!  

     
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    Grace Bagga

    Undergraduate Student
    May 18, 2021 | 04:10 p.m.

    This is such an awesome project! I love that the children were really motivated to play these games. Was any one game found to be particularly effective (more so than others) in improving the relevant skill?

     
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    Jessica Young

    Lead Presenter
    Principal Research Scientist
    May 18, 2021 | 07:28 p.m.

    Hi Grace,

    Great question! We have studied our number and geometry games and have found that they do promote preschoolers' math outcomes on an assessment of number and geometry. We are currently expanding into additional content areas including data collection and analysis, measurement, and spatial relationships. With Covid we weren't able to assess children directly this year, so we haven't been able to take a deep dive into child outcomes as they relate to specific games, but all of our games are based on prior research. For example, our Jumping on the Lilypads game is based on research by Siegler and Ramani (99+) (PDF) Siegler, R. S., & Ramani, G. B. (2008). | Robert Siegler - Academia.edu and how number path games--when using the counting on strategy--support children's numerical development. Thank you so much for your interest!

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    Camille L

    Undergraduate Student
    May 19, 2021 | 07:05 p.m.

    It sounds like the games are intended to be introduced into the home environment only after they are introduced and played in the school environment. Are there any instances or intentions of introducing the games into the home environment first, and if so, do we see any differences in outcomes?

     
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