## JDJCSET | Sigma Xi Poster Competition

#### Title

Puzzle Me This: A New Method to Learn Math Formulas?

#### Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

#### Major

Psychology

#### Minor

Business Administration

#### List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Dr. Paula Waddill

#### Presentation Format

Poster Presentation

#### Abstract/Description

Material-appropriate processing (MAP) refers to using adjuncts to induce elaborative processing of material. The MAP framework proposes that recall is best when both individual components of an episode (individual items) and the connections among those components (relations) are processed and when that elaboration is complementary to the processing elicited by the material. The MAP framework has been successfully applied to text and picture memory but has not been extended to information like math formulas. The purpose of this study is to see if utilizing an elaborative adjunct designed to increase individual item and relational processing of math formulas will result in better memory than rote rehearsal. Participants were randomly assigned to a control or experimental group. All participants studied three math formulas: t-test, pooled standard deviation, and correlation. The control group copied the formula three times; the experimental group assembled the formula from a set of individual pieces. After studying a formula, participants completed a distractor task, formula free recall, and formula recognition tests; this sequence was performed for each formula. Separate one-way MANOVAs indicated that compared to the control group, the experimental group had a significantly higher individual item (81% vs 72%) and relational (74% vs 64%) recall across the formulas. A one-way ANOVA on recognition performance indicated the experimental group performed significantly better than the control group (70% vs 57%). As predicted, the experimental group had more accurate recall than the control group. The elaborative processing task of recreating math formulas as puzzles increased learning not only of the individual elements of the formulas but also the arrangement of those elements within the formula.

#### Spring Scholars Week 2018 Event

Sigma Xi Poster Competition

Puzzle Me This: A New Method to Learn Math Formulas?

Material-appropriate processing (MAP) refers to using adjuncts to induce elaborative processing of material. The MAP framework proposes that recall is best when both individual components of an episode (individual items) and the connections among those components (relations) are processed and when that elaboration is complementary to the processing elicited by the material. The MAP framework has been successfully applied to text and picture memory but has not been extended to information like math formulas. The purpose of this study is to see if utilizing an elaborative adjunct designed to increase individual item and relational processing of math formulas will result in better memory than rote rehearsal. Participants were randomly assigned to a control or experimental group. All participants studied three math formulas: t-test, pooled standard deviation, and correlation. The control group copied the formula three times; the experimental group assembled the formula from a set of individual pieces. After studying a formula, participants completed a distractor task, formula free recall, and formula recognition tests; this sequence was performed for each formula. Separate one-way MANOVAs indicated that compared to the control group, the experimental group had a significantly higher individual item (81% vs 72%) and relational (74% vs 64%) recall across the formulas. A one-way ANOVA on recognition performance indicated the experimental group performed significantly better than the control group (70% vs 57%). As predicted, the experimental group had more accurate recall than the control group. The elaborative processing task of recreating math formulas as puzzles increased learning not only of the individual elements of the formulas but also the arrangement of those elements within the formula.