Cyberchase Fractions Quest
Purpose: This project team will fully develop and test Cyberchase Fractions Quest, a web-based mathematics game for students in grade 3 and 4. Research shows that inadequate understanding of fractions can persist from early grades through higher education, and that success in fractions predicts future success in mathematics and other STEM subjects.
Project Activities: During Phase I (completed in 2016), the team developed a prototype of Cyberchase Fractions Quest, including an interactive number line game with four levels of challenges, and a tool to scaffold learning through hints and provide encouragement as students progress. At the end of Phase I, the research team conducted a pilot study over one week with 60 grade 4 students, half of whom were randomly assigned to use the prototype and half assigned to paper-based fractions activities. Results revealed that the prototype functioned as intended, that students were engaged during gameplay, and that from pre- to post-test, students using the prototype increased significantly in their knowledge of number line problems compared to the control group. In Phase II, the team will finalize the design, artwork, and animation, the formative and summative assessment component, and learning management system. After development is complete, the researchers will carry out a pilot study to assess the usability and feasibility, fidelity of implementation, and promise of the game to improve student learning of fractions over a 5-week period. The study will include four classrooms of grade 3 students, two of which will be randomly assigned, to use the games to supplement in-class lessons while the others will use paper-based activities. The researchers will compare pre-and-post scores for student learning of fractions. The study will also track teacher implementation.
Product: The final product is Cyberchase Fractions Quest—a math game based on the storyline of PBS children's television series, Cyberchase. In the game, students in grades 3 and 4 will apply learning fractions within three contexts: areas and regions (such as shapes), sets (groups of objects), and on a number line. The game will identify specific areas where students struggle and will introduce challenges to support individualized learning. Similar to other popular game apps, student will receive immediate feedback from one to three stars based on how well they perform on each challenge as well as in-game rewards as they progress toward mastery. The game will include teacher resources for classroom implementation, and an educator dashboard presenting results.
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