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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Exploring children’s mathematics learning and self-regulation in robotics Zhang, Ting


In this case study, I investigated young children’s learning experiences with robotics in after-school learning centers. Over a two-month period, six students in grades 2 and 3, currently enrolled in these learning centers, constituted four subcases (two pairs and two singles) in this study, with each participating in six one-hour robotics sessions. The study applies the principles of constructionism and self-regulated learning theory to address two primary questions: i) How did these young children apply mathematical concepts while engaging in robotics activities? ii) What self-regulated learning opportunities does robotics provide for young children during problem-solving activities? The findings revealed that students exhibited an iterative approach in their problem-solving endeavors, involving continuous cycles of understanding the problem, ideation, experimentation, and assessing solutions. While coding and designing robots, they employed strategies such as decomposition, experimentation, and self-assessment to gauge their progress. Moreover, they showcased their ability in applying mathematical concepts across various representations, surpassing mere basic arithmetic computation. Additionally, the study found that the children as young as six years old consistently self-regulated their problem-solving, encompassing crucial components of SRL such as goal-setting, self-assessment, and persistence in the face of challenges. These insights contribute to our understanding of how students engage in problem-solving within the context of robotics and hold implications for future research and educational practices in mathematics education.

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