Designing Learning Environments for Developing Understanding of Geometry and Space

By Richard Lehrer; Daniel Chazan | Go to book overview

1995). We expect similar results when introducing other visual tools to the Jasper geometry adventures.


SUMMARY

Each adventure in The Adventures of Jasper Woodbury is a video story that creates a visual learning environment to support students' problem generation as well as complex problem solving. All of the information needed to solve the problem is contained in the story, and videodisc technology allows students to easily revisit parts of the story in order to find just-in- time information needed to solve the problem. Modeling by experts occurs as a natural part of the story and helps students see how experts perform in the environment. The modeling also serves to scaffold students' knowledge of geometry.

Results of a number of studies involving middle-school students who have solved the adventures show that students improve in their knowledge of the applications of geometry, in the use of geometry to solve problems, and in the creation of geometric representations of real-world objects. Because an analysis of the teaching and learning process showed that both students and teachers needed support in assessing and revising their work, we designed prototype tools for the adventure "Blueprint for Success." These tools added elements to the learning environment that support reflection and visualization. The initial success of these tools in helping students learn geometry has prompted us to design similar tools for the other Jasper adventures.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The preparation of this chapter and the research reported herein were supported by grants from the National Science Foundation (Nos. MDR- 9252908, MDR-9050191, and MDR-9252990) and the Dwight D. Eisenhower Act P. L. 100-297, Title II. Any opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the granting agencies. Funding of The Jasper Woodbury Series was provided in part by grants from the James S. McDonnell Foundation (No. 91-6) and the National Science Foundation (No. MDR-9050191 and No. MDR-9252990).


REFERENCES

Adams, L., Kasserman, J., Yearwood, A., Perfetto, G., Bransford, J., & Franks, J. ( 1988). "The effects of facts versus problem-oriented acquisition". Memory & Cognition, 16, 176-175.

Barron, B. ( 1991). Collaborative problem solving: Is team performance greater than what is expected from the most competent member? Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.

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