Date: Wednesday, 22 March 2023
Location: Online / DT 2203
Speaker: Shuyuan Yu
Analogy is a powerful learning mechanism for children to learn novel, abstract concepts from only limited input, yet also requires cognitive supports. My talk sought to propose and examine number lines as a mathematical schema of the number system to facilitate both the development of rational number understanding and analogical reasoning. To examine these hypotheses, I conducted a series of educational intervention studies with third-to-fifth graders. Results showed that a short, unsupervised online intervention of spatial alignment between integers and fractions on number lines produced broad and durable gains in fractional magnitudes. Additionally, training on conceptual knowledge of fractions – that fractions denote magnitude and can be placed on number lines – facilitates explicit analogical reasoning. More broadly, I found that number lines that help children’s quantitative thinking also help adults increase their numerical objectivity with politically charged problems. Together, these studies indicate that analogies can play an important role in rational number learning, with the help of number lines as schemas. These studies aim to shed light on best practices in STEM education curriculum and science communication.
Shuyuan Yu is a postdoctoral researcher in Jo-Anne LeFevre’s lab at Carleton University. Her research focuses on the early development of quantitative understanding and how language affects mathematics thinking. She completed her Ph.D. under the supervision of John Opfer at the Ohio State University, with a focus on numerical cognition, mathematical development, and analogical reasoning.