Fostering Number Sense Development in K-1 EBs Through Interactive Simulations and Engagement in Math Discourse Practices

Do computer math games have the potential to enhance early number learning for English learners in grades K-1 students and, in turn, to reduce inequality in early math learning?

Central to success in elementary school mathematics is early number sense, which consists of fundamental mathematical skills like counting, number knowledge, and problem solving; number sense is also a critical building block for later success in math. English learners often have insufficient opportunities to participate actively in math learning in ways that support the development of early number sense. The use of computer simulations is a promising strategy for allowing emergent bilingual students to independently explore mathematical concepts and gain immediate feedback on their progress in English and Spanish. Whitacre and colleagues will examine how math learning among English learners improves with the introduction of computer math games in kindergarten and first grade classrooms. They will also support teachers to advance their pedagogical practices with technology use and equitable instruction for English learners. The team will use longitudinal descriptive analyses to measure changes in teacher practice and in English learners’ outcomes. This study has the potential to identify a highly scalable mechanism of classroom-based math instruction to reduce inequalities in early math outcomes for English learners.