Sara Schmitt

University of Oregon (UO)

The purpose of this project is to further develop, refine, and evaluate a research-based STEM learning tool (i.e. block play) that tests theories of mathematical learning. The first objective is to empirically evaluate the impacts of different types of block play on children’s mathematics. The second objective is to evaluate the extent to which children’s mathematical language (spatial and quantitative), spatial skills, and executive function are mechanisms that link block play with children’s mathematical learning. Results from this study will contribute to the theoretical understanding of how and why block play may influence the development of early mathematics, a key component of STEM and school readiness, and will advance the research base about low-cost, feasible, and effective strategies for improving children's mathematics learning.