Research Programs

1. National, developmental, and individual differences in fraction knowledge.

Researchers: Drew Bailey, Jiaxin Cui, Ruizhe Liu, Yiyun Zhang, Xinlin Zhou, and Robert Siegler

Synopsis: In Western samples, earlier knowledge of fractions uniquely predicts later mathematical achievement and algebraic proficiency. The SCIL is currently conducting studies in China that parallel those conducted in Western countries and is assessing how Chinese and American children learn about fractions. The goals of these projects are to identify the strengths and weaknesses of Chinese and American students’ fraction knowledge, to compare methods for teaching fractions in the two countries, and to use this information to develop interventions to improve fraction knowledge among students in China and the U.S.

Drs. Bailey and Zhou, Spring, 2013

Drs. Bailey and Zhou, Spring, 2013

In order to gain a deeper understanding into these issues, Drew Bailey visited SCIL and was hosted by SCIL members at Beijing Normal University during the spring of 2013. While on site, Drew and other researchers worked together collecting more data for the study, and were able to discuss and exchange ideas about how best to increase fraction understanding in children from all cultures.

This ongoing cross-cultural research project promises to bring to light different ways in which educators can assist all children to understand fractions in a meaningful way, and to positively contribute to their mathematical development.

2. Neural correlates of fraction and whole number.

Researchers: Jiaxin Cui, Xiaodan Yu, Xinlin Zhou, and Robert Siegler

Synopsis: This project explores neural correlates of understanding and processing of fraction and whole number magnitudes. We hypothesized greater activation in the parietal and prefrontal cortex for processing fraction than whole number magnitudes because of the greater complexity of estimating fraction magnitudes and the greater number of strategies that could be used with fractions.

3. Linear number board games for low-income preschoolers of China.

Researchers: Fang Wang, Hui Zhao, Xinlin Zhou, and Robert Siegler

Synopsis: SCIL is running a project examining the effects of playing linear number board games on the mathematics understanding of low-income preschoolers of China. This intervention study has three main goals: to examine the effects of the linear number game on Chinese children, to explore whether playing the linear number board game has larger or smaller effects on Chinese than American preschoolers, and to explore whether kinesthetic manipulations of the tokens during the game influence the amount of learning.