Su Su | Communication, Media and Learning Technologies Design | Mathematics Science and Technology

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Teachers College, Columbia University
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Communication, Media & Learning Technologies Design

In the Department of Mathematics, Science & Technology

Teaching Children Logical Reasoning using Hopscotch (in Collaboration with Jeff Shrager, Professor of Symbolic Systems, Stanford University)

Su Su, M.A. in Instructional Technology and Media

This project presents a series of game design on the iPad app “Hopscotch”, aiming to teach 8 to 12-year-olds logic and reasoning. To add logic, quantification and formalization into the STEAM curriculum, we have proposed METALS, an ideal model that incorporates Math, Engineering, Technology, Arts, Logic and Science. Design samples include Aristotle’s square of opposition, syllogistic reasoning in natural science, translation between English and first-order logic expressions, logical/numerical quantifiers, and inconsistency.

Our design is inspired by Tarski’s World, a logic teaching software widely adopted by undergraduate institutions. While simplifying it to a kid-friendly version on Hopscotch, we too highly value the presence of formal language, manipulation, and guidance in our design. As for background literature, we have reviewed children’s cognitive development in language processing and mathematical thinking, the psychology of reasoning, semantics, educational assessments in logic, motivational issues, and MDA framework of game design.

Logic is not a dull, abstract discipline excluded from STEAM fields, but rather, a lively, elegant subject necessary for us to rationally endorse, reject, doubt, propose, and verify information as we enter any philosophical or scientific discussion. Our METALS curriculum on Hopscotch has the prospect of making explicit the relationship between logic and mathematics, of helping students reason with categories and propositions and derive facts in natural sciences, and of fostering digital literacy through children’s collaboration in extending our current games using the colorful programming language of Hopscotch. We expect students to form a stronger connection with the world, and with their own future, by introducing a logical mindset to their lives.

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