Title

Still Puzzling: An Alternative Approach to Learning Math Formulas

Presenter Information

Aaron BeuoyFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Graduate

Major

Experimental Psychology

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Paula Waddill, Ph.D.

Presentation Format

Oral 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. Furthermore, self-testing has been shown to increase recall and occurs when an individual test themselves on material that they studied. These two elaborative processing methods have been successfully applied to text and picture memory but has not been extended to other types of information. The purpose of this research is to see if the application of memory adjuncts to learning math formulas. Participants were randomly assigned to one of four groups, formed by the combination of encoding method (copy/assemble), and self-test (yes or no). All participants studied three math formulas, two of the groups self-tested, then performed a distractor task, formula free recall and a recognition test. Self-testing significantly improved both recall and recognition. Assembling tended to improve relational recall more than individual item. These results have implications for teaching and learning math. Incorporating elaborative hands-on learning strategies like the puzzle assembly in this study could be more beneficial than using rote memorization.

Spring Scholars Week 2019 Event

Psychology: Completed Projects

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Still Puzzling: An Alternative Approach to Learning 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. Furthermore, self-testing has been shown to increase recall and occurs when an individual test themselves on material that they studied. These two elaborative processing methods have been successfully applied to text and picture memory but has not been extended to other types of information. The purpose of this research is to see if the application of memory adjuncts to learning math formulas. Participants were randomly assigned to one of four groups, formed by the combination of encoding method (copy/assemble), and self-test (yes or no). All participants studied three math formulas, two of the groups self-tested, then performed a distractor task, formula free recall and a recognition test. Self-testing significantly improved both recall and recognition. Assembling tended to improve relational recall more than individual item. These results have implications for teaching and learning math. Incorporating elaborative hands-on learning strategies like the puzzle assembly in this study could be more beneficial than using rote memorization.