Games for Young Mathematicians Research

Can a game-based mathematics intervention improve preschool students’ mathematical thinking and persistence at challenging tasks? Young and Reed are examining the effectiveness of a professional development (PD) intervention in promoting low-income preschool children’s mastery motivation and mathematics learning. The intervention provides preschool teachers with effective strategies to support children’s growth mindset and mastery motivation through mathematics games and activities; study findings will advance knowledge of how schools and families can promote at-risk children’s mathematics learning and mastery motivation through guided play.

Specifically, the intervention was designed to: (1) facilitate preschool teachers’ understanding of children’s mathematics development through the use of developmentally appropriate, challenging, mathematics games and activities; (2) support teachers in providing emotionally-supportive interactions, through appropriate praise and feedback during mathematics; and (3) address teacher beliefs about the role of effort (growth mindset) in mathematics learning.

Research Questions

  1. Is the intervention effective at changing teacher outcomes and child outcomes?
  2. Do teachers’ beliefs about learning, teacher-child interaction, and use of challenging materials predict children’s mastery motivation?
  3. Do teachers’ beliefs about learning, teacher-child interaction, and use of challenging materials predict children’s mathematics learning?
  4. Do gains in mastery motivation predict gains in mathematics learning?
  5. Does mastery motivation mediate the relation of teachers’ beliefs about learning and teacher-child interaction to mathematics learning?