From the age of 6 or 7 years, the pupils are faced with mathematical problems involving additions and subtractions. Instinctively, simulations mental situations described in the problems to find solutions. But as soon as a problem becomes complex, the use of this representation using the images becomes impossible or leads the student into error. "We thought about a method that would allow young students to come away from these first images, and that would have favoured the use of the abstract principles of arithmetic," explains Katarina Gvozdic , a researcher at the Faculty of Psychology and Education (FPSE) at UNIGE.
This approach, which is based on the recoding of semantics, it helps the students to reach the knowledge of arithmetic at an early age.
at The end of the school year, the team from UNIGE has evaluated the ten classes of children aged 6 to 7 years in France (the second grade of primary school). In five classes, known as control classes, the teachers had taught mathematics in the conventional way. In the other five classes, they had implemented the intervention ACE-ArithmEcole that encouraged the students to facilitate the abstraction.
at The conclusion of the test, the researchers observed results are undeniable. Among students who have learned to solve mathematical problems with the method ACE-ArithmEcole, 63.4% gave correct answers to the problems that are easy to simulate mentally, and 50.5% found in the answers to the most complex problems. "In contrast, only 42.2% of the pupils of the standard curriculum, is able to solve simple problems, and only 29.8% gave the right answer to complex problems," exclaims Katarina Gvozdic. "However, their level is measured on other aspects of mathematics was exactly the same," adds Emmanuel Sander of the University of Geneva.
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