Using Virtual Manipulatives to Solve Cognitively Demanding Mathematical Problems

Virtual Brief Paper ID: 40034
  1. aaa
    Mustafa Demir
    University of Detroit Mercy

Abstract: This study examined the effects of using Virtual Manipulatives (VMs) on students’ solutions of the mathematical problems requiring different levels of cognitive effort. Through using the categorization of tasks developed by Smith and Stein (1998), the problems are identified as procedures without connections, procedures with connections, and doing mathematics. Participants were forty-eight college students taking a remedial mathematics course, randomly assigned into two groups, and used the same set of VMs with open-ended exploratory versus structured mathematics questions. The pre-and posttest assessing students’ performance on the three types of questions mentioned above were administered and students’ interactions with the VMs were analyzed. The findings revealed that students using VMs with the open-ended activities considerably improved their solutions on the “doing mathematics” questions requiring them to understand the nature of mathematical ideas and processes.


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