Math Whartels - Maths the heart and brain way

The Whartels Project

Poor maths achievement is a global problem and as maths is a powerful gatekeeper – the door to coursework (qualifications) in science, medicine, technology and engineering. Research has indicated that at American Middle school two thirds of learners will fall behind grade level in their maths classes. In South Africa 77% of learners take Maths literacy which does not give entry to any course in Engineering, Technology or Science at post-matric level. The results of the 2014 ANA’s indicate that only 65% of Grade 3 learners achieved 50% and more in mathematics. Only thirty five percent (35%) of Grade 6 learners achieved 50%. For the Grade 9 learners it is a shocking 3%.

 

Dr Erasmus’s research interest on predictors of maths achievement in the South African context started in 2000 with her Masters studies to design a remedial programme in Maths for Setswana speaking / second language learners. She has 30 years’ experience in teaching remedial maths for learners from pre-school up to Grade 11. Her PhD studies focused on study orientation in maths and emotional intelligence as predictors of maths achievement. The literature review indicated that metacognition is one of the most important concepts in contemporary research of critical thinking. The relationship between the different fields of study orientation (maths anxiety, attitude, problem-solving skills, study milieu etc.) is confirmed by various studies. Study orientation is one of the key predictors of maths achievement. The role of the family and school in poor maths achievement is also stressed. Research finding also focuses on the role of resilience in maths achievement. The relationship between mathematics anxiety, memory capabilities and lowered academic performance has been validated in my PhD studies and is also the focus of recent books and various articles on this topic. Current research stresses that low achieving primary school learners that are exposed to systematic training in problem solving, decision making, and self-monitoring techniques improves their maths achievement significantly.

 

Maths Whartels is a new creative and innovative concept for a computer game designed for primary school learners aimed at improving children’s math achievement by focusing on cognitive aspects (math concepts, metacognition and information processing) and psychological facets (maths anxiety, maths resilience, etc). By using the newest technology this program aims to facilitate self-directed learning by changing the learners mathematical mindset / thinking by including principles used in play therapy to optimize learning and understanding such as puppets / characters, board games and story-telling and thus including both LINEAR and THEME methods to improve math skills

Maths Whartels is an Eco-system for teaching, learning, exploring and most importantly playing with mathematics. Based on research, Maths Whartels was developed for pre-primary and primary school learners aimed at improving Mathematics achievement

​This is achieved through focusing on:

  • Cognitive aspects (maths concepts, meta-cognition and information processing

  • Psychological facets (executive functioning, study orientation in maths, maths anxiety, maths resilience, motivation, etc)

Math Whartels uses:

  • Principles used in play therapy (art, bibliotherapy, board games, puppets)

  • Using both linear and theme methods to cater for both accelerated programmes for the gifted learner and remedial programmes for the learner who needs extra help in Maths.

Dr Erasmus’s research interest on predictors of maths achievement in the South African context started in 2000 with her Masters studies to design a remedial programs in Maths for Setswana speaking / second language learners. She has 30 years’ experience in teaching remedial maths for learners from pre-school up to Grade 11. Her PhD studies focused on study orientation in maths and emotional intelligence as predictors of maths achievement. The literature review indicated that meta-cognition is one of the most important concepts in contemporary research of critical thinking. The relationship between the different fields of study orientation (maths anxiety, attitude, problem-solving skills, study milieu etc.) is confirmed by various studies. Study orientation is one of the key predictors of maths achievement. The role of the family and school in poor maths achievement is also stressed. Research finding also focuses on the role of resilience in maths achievement. The relationship between mathematics anxiety, memory capabilities and lowered academic performance has been validated in my PhD studies and is also the focus of recent books and various articles on this topic. Current research stresses that low achieving primary school learners that are exposed to systematic training in problem solving, decision making, and self-monitoring techniques improves their maths achievement significantly.

RESEARCH FINDINGS: – A Neurophysiology’s process:

Study orientation in Maths, Role of Executive functioning in maths, Resilience, Emotional Intelligence, Meta-cognition, Impulse control, Coping strategies

  • ​Erasmus, P 2007 & 2013 – Predictors of Maths Achievement
  • Maree, K. 1997, 2009 – Study Orientation in Maths – High School learners
  • Van der Walt, M. 2008 – Study Orientation in Maths – Primary School learner
  • Johnston-Wilder, S. & Lee, C.  2010 – Maths Resilience
  • Mc  Closkey, 2019 – Executive functioning and Maths achievement
  • Carey, E., Devine, A., Hill, F., Dowker, A., McLellan, R., & Szucs, D. 2019. Understanding Mathematics Anxiety: Investigating the experiences of UK primary and secondary school students
“When you connect to the heart of a child, everything is possible.” Purvis, 2007
 
Children’s play is not mere sport. It is full meaning and import. Froebel (Landreth)
“Children must hold math in their hands before they can hold it in their heads” Unknown
±400 repetitions to create a new synapse in the brain – with play, it only takes between 10 – 20 repetitions. (Purvis 2007)
  • Most of children’s processes are non-verbal
  • They learn through pictures and images
  • Play promotes divergent problem-solving
  • Play is linked to self-regulation
  • It develops attention and concentration
  • Symbolic play is linked to language skills development

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