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Building a classroom game economy to improve mathematical reasoning and prepare K-5 students for success in STEM learning

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 4R44GM130197-02
Agency Tracking Number: R44GM130197
Amount: $989,429.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 500
Solicitation Number: PAR18-402
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2019
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2019-03-08
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2021-02-28
Small Business Information
Staten Island, NY 10301-4125
United States
DUNS: 078363101
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (646) 895-3027
Business Contact
Phone: (347) 552-1272
Research Institution

There is an enormous need for qualified people to pursue careers in STEM (Noonan,
2017). However, the lack of a strong foundation in mathematics means students are less likely
to pursue STEM majors and careers (Chen, 2013; Griffith, 2010; Huang, Taddese, andamp; Walter, E,
2000; Kokkelenberg andamp; Sinha, 2010; Lowell et. al., 2009). Students from low-income families,
women, and underrepresented minorities are also less likely to major in STEM (Bettinger, 2010;
Griffith, 2010; Hill, Corbett andamp; Rose, 2010; Kokkelenberg andamp; Sinha, 2010). Improving math
learning in the elementary grades is important to ensure children have the essential
foundational skills and strong self-efficacy beliefs to be able to succeed with later mathematics
and pursue careers in STEM. With this Fast-Track grant, Class Store ( CS ) , we propose to
transform the way in which students learn Number and Operations in Base Ten. CS will be an
engaging, commercially available, classroom-based economy game for tablets and
Chromebooks that focuses on multi-digit operations. CS will encourage conceptual
understanding and build math self-efficacy for students in grades K-5 within the context of a
digital, classroom-based marketplace. Within the game, students will create stores, craft objects
to sell, engage in selling/purchasing transactions, and work together to increase the value of the
economy. In addition, the game will utilize artificial intelligence (AI) to detect strategies students
use and help teachers facilitate rich mathematical discussions thereby enhancing students’
reasoning skills.
Outcomes. The proposal will encourage three main outcomes, namely: 1) algorithms for
detecting math strategies students use, 2) a discussion support dashboard, and 3) algorithms
for predicting at-risk status. A key research aim is to determine whether the software can predict
math strategies students use and detect which students are at-risk academically as compared
to standardized assessment data, which will help teachers intervene appropriately. The
discussion support dashboard will help to promote rich mathematical discussion, thereby
improving students’ mathematical justification and conceptual understanding. The engaging
game will bolster students’ motivation and self-efficacy in mathematics.
Improving students’ academic outcomes and self-efficacy in base ten during elementary
school will promote later success in high school mathematics. Since the number of advanced
math classes students take is correlated with likelihood to complete a STEM degree, (Chen,
2013) a distal outcome of this proposal is increasing students pursuing careers in STEM.There is an enormous need for students majoring in the fields of Science, Technology,
Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), yet lacking a strong foundation in mathematics makes
students, especially women, minorities and those from low-income backgrounds, less likely to
pursue careers in STEM. Class Store will bolster students’ mathematics abilities, including
mathematical reasoning and self-efficacy, in the foundational area of Number and Operations in
Base 10 in the short and long term. This will, in turn, lead to several positive distal outcomes,
such as increased STEM majors and careers.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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