Extending a Digital Fraction Game Piece by Piece with Physical Manipulatives
This paper reports results from an ongoing project that aims to develop a digital game for introducing fractions to young children. In the current study, third-graders played the Number Trace Fractions prototype in which they estimated fraction locations and compared fraction magnitudes on a number line. The intervention consisted of five 30 min playing sessions. Conceptual fraction knowledge was assessed with a paper based pre- and posttest. Additionally, after the intervention students’ fraction comparison strategies were explored with game-based comparison tasks including self-explanation prompts. The results support previous findings indicating that game-based interventions emphasizing fraction magnitudes improve students’ performance in conceptual fraction tasks. Nevertheless, the results revealed that in spite of clear improvement many students tended to use false fraction magnitude comparison strategies after the intervention. It seems that the game mechanics and the feedback that the game provided did not support conceptual change processes of students with low prior knowledge well enough and common fraction misconceptions still existed. Based on these findings we further developed the game and extended it with physical manipulatives. The aim of this extension is to help students to overcome misconceptions about fraction magnitude by physically interacting with manipulatives.
KeywordsGame-based learning Fraction Number line Conceptual change Manipulatives Serious games Mathematics
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