Date of Graduation

5-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science Education

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Advisor

Imbeau, Marcia B.

Reader

Carter, Vinson

Second Reader

Wissehr, Cathy

Third Reader

Daugherty, Michael

Abstract

Within the educational realm, students and teachers have begun to shy away from the subject of mathematics. Too often students see this content area as intimidating and solely focused on memorization techniques. However, current research (Ensign, 2012; Gabreile & Montecinos, 2001; Kyriacou, 1992; Newstead, 1998; Tomlinson& Jarvis, 2006; Valli & Buese, 2007) has shown the effectiveness of differentiated instruction, active learning techniques, investigative teaching strategies, and changing teacher roles as effective teaching tools that may address this problem. The purpose of this study was to investigate if using innovative teaching techniques impacted students’ attitudes and achievement towards mathematics. The study investigates the research question: “Do innovative teaching strategies and math game reviews improve attitude and achievement in math?” This study used an action research design that called for the creation and implementation of intentional instructional techniques to impact attitude, confidence, and competencies in elementary mathematics. The design of the project included introducing math games to review and practice new math content taught in the classroom. The study took place at an elementary school with a small group of 5 fifth grade students. These participants spent 1 hour each week participating in the activities, and they were chosen to join the study based on results of a pre- assessment taken before the start of the project. Students were assessed using pre- and post-surveys compiled in order to analyze attitudes, confidences, and competencies in mathematics. Anecdotal records were transcribed with the purpose of recording progress of achievement on a weekly basis throughout the study. The pre- and post-assessments were then analyzed using t-tests assuming equal variances, and though no statistical significance was shown, all students improved their scores for all categories. Participants averaged a 6.83% improvement among all areas monitored. With a starting mean of 21.6 out of 30 total points, 20.4 out of 40, and 9.4 out of 16 in attitudes, confidences, and competencies, and an ending mean of 23.4 out of 30 total points, 22.2 out of 40, and 11 out of 16 respectively. The p-values reported were 0.339, 0.421, and 0.109 with all p-values p>.05. This study concludes that the use of these active, exploratory instructional techniques and the implementation of games to foster a positive learning environment may be effective in impacting students’ attitude, confidence, and achievement in mathematics. Future studies with more students over a longer period of time may yield more positive results. Additionally, the type of games and strategies used may still be important for teachers to use and are activities that could be implemented into daily classroom routines.

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