Toddler puzzles may help math skills
CHICAGO, June 18 (UPI) -- Toddlers working with puzzles and shapes may improve their spatial understanding, which in turn may improve their math skills, U.S. researchers say.
Lead author Elizabeth Gunderson and co-author Susan Levine at the University at Chicago said the results of their study suggest improving children's spatial thinking at a young age might not only help foster skills specific to spatial reasoning but also improve symbolic numerical representations.
"This is important since spatial learning is malleable and can be positively influenced by early spatial experiences," Levine said in a statement.
In the first experiment, the research team studied 152 first- and second-grade boys and girls from diverse backgrounds in five urban schools. The students were given tests at the beginning and end of the school year, to see how well they could locate numbers on a straight, unmarked line with zero at one end and 1,000 at the other.
At the beginning of the school year, the researchers also assessed children's spatial knowledge on a task that required them to choose the correct piece from among four alternatives, which could be added to others to complete a square shape.
The study, published in the journal Development Psychology, found the students with the strongest spatial skills showed the most growth in their number line knowledge during the course of the school year.
Read more: http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2012/06/18/Toddler-puzzles-may-help-math-skills/UPI-31161340063699/#ixzz1yEu3xZEz