SLC Scholars Receive Grant to Develop and Study Math Toolkit for Young Children

UChicago SLC scholars have received a $750 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop and study the effects of a research-based toolkit to improve math learning in young children, in collaboration with colleagues from the Center for Early Mathematics and Science Education and the Urban Education Institute. For further details, see the abstract below.

This Science of Learning Collaborative Network brings together a diverse group of experts to examine how math knowledge and attitudes together affect early math achievement, and to develop tools to promote math learning at home and in school for children in kindergarten to grade three. The network focuses on early math because achievement in this domain is a powerful predictor of future academic success. Moreover, math is a cornerstone for careers in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and our technological society has a high need for a STEM workforce that can push the frontiers of innovation. Success in mathematics requires learning content, but also has social and emotional dimensions. Yet math instruction does not typically address the emotional dimension, instead focusing exclusively on content. This is particularly problematic because many parents and elementary school teachers have both high levels of math anxiety and less-than-optimal knowledge of how to promote math learning and interest in young children. The end result is a cycle of inter-generational transmission of low math achievement and high math anxiety. 

To break this cycle, the network brings together: (a) researchers who study the knowledge and attitudes that support math achievement; (b) developers who translate research findings into effective educational tools; (c) practitioners who implement educational tools in real-world learning settings, and (d) experts in the dissemination of such tools. By combining these different kinds of expertise, the network will increase understanding of how young children learn math and develop attitudes about math. Further, the network will use this knowledge to support children's math learning at home and in school by developing a toolkit for parents and teachers to help them more effectively provide math instruction to children from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. The network will evaluate whether the toolkit improves children's math learning and math attitudes as well as teachers' and parents' math attitudes, and will refine the toolkit based on feedback from those who are using it. Finally, the network will widely share the toolkit via a publicly available website.

To read more, visit the National Science Foundation award annoucement.