Finger tracing can help school-going kids in learning mathematics better.
Applied Cognitive Psychology
Learning and Instruction
Researchers from Sydney worked with 275 school-going children in the age range of 9 to 13 years. They found that tracing of mathematical points on fingers could help children in better understanding and solving the previously unknown problems of algebra and geometry. So, finger tracing of practice examples while simultaneously reading arithmetic or geometrical material help students in quicker and correct completion of tasks.
“Our findings have a range of implications for teachers and students alike. They show maths learning by young students may be enhanced substantially with the simple addition of instructions to finger-trace elements of maths problems,” said Dr Paul Ginns, who is a Senior Lecturer in Educational Psychology and the study’s corresponding author.
Researchers are also of opinion that the use of an index finger to physically trace and touch the figures in mathematics such as angles of a triangle can help in better learning by students. This can help in reducing the load on working memory, thereby helping in retaining complex information by ‘chunking’ information together.
“At the classroom level, teachers can assist students to learn new mathematical content by giving instructions to ‘trace over’ the important elements of worked examples that already appear in mathematics textbooks or worksheets. This simple, zero-cost teaching approach can enhance the effectiveness of mathematics instruction across multiple areas of the subject,” said Dr Ginns.
The University of Sydney – Finger tracing can lift student performance in maths – http://goo.gl/zZJN5Y
Ginns, P., Hu, F., Byrne, E., & Bobis, J. (2015). Learning By Tracing Worked Examples Applied Cognitive Psychology DOI: 10.1002/acp.3171
Hu, F., Ginns, P., & Bobis, J. (2015). Getting the point: Tracing worked examples enhances learning Learning and Instruction, 35, 85-93 DOI: 10.1016/j.learninstruc.2014.10.002