Conference paper Open Access

On a making-&-tinkering approach to learning Mathematics in formal education: Knowledge gains, attitudes, and 21st-century skills

Stella Timotheoua; Andri Ioannou

Making and tinkering, as learning practices, have gained a lot of attention during the last decade, especially in STEAM education. Despite the significant interest in making-&-tinkering activities, most of the research has focused on implementations in non-formal and informal educational settings, with learners of older age (i.e., students in secondary school). The present study sought to investigate young students’ knowledge gains, attitudes towards a making-&-tinkering approach to learning mathematics in formal education and the development of 21st-century skills as they engaged in a collaborative making-&-tinkering project using a variety of arts, crafts, and technological tools such as a physical robot. The making-&-tinkering approach involved making, tinkering, programming, and play in a group project integrated into the formal mathematics curriculum. Findings from the study suggest that young students can greatly benefit from such an approach. The study has demonstrated the applicability and value of such methods for young learners in formal educational contexts, with implications for future research and practice in the field.

This work has been partly supported by the project that has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 739578 (RISE – Call: H2020-WIDESPREAD-01-2016-2017-TeamingPhase2) and the Government of the Republic of Cyprus through the Directorate General for European Programmes, Coordination and Development.
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