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Improving Mathematics With Drama-Inspired Exercises

Fri, April 9, 10:40am to 12:10pm EDT (10:40am to 12:10pm EDT), Division C, Division C - Section 2a: Cognitive and Motivational Processes Paper and Symposium Sessions


Learning mathematical concepts and procedures typically requires sustained attention, presenting a challenge for many students. Drama educators have advocated for “mirroring” exercises, involving students in pairs or groups mirroring each other’s movements, as a warm-up classroom exercise to enhance attention. The present study investigated the effects of a mirroring intervention on learning processes and outcomes from the perspective of an evolutionarily informed cognitive load theory. One hundred and thirteen Grade 2 children learned about number lines based on observing a teacher tracing out diagrammatic elements of worked examples with her index finger or mirroring the teacher’s actions with the child’s index finger. Hypotheses regarding cognitive load, motivation, and post-test performance were supported, but not attention.