Transferring Skills at Solving Word Problems from Computing to Algebra Through Bootstrap

Emmanuel Schanzer, Kathi Fisler, Shriram Krishnamurthi, Matthias Felleisen

ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, 2015


Many educators have tried to leverage computing or programming to help improve students’ achievement in mathematics. However, several hopes of performance gains---particularly in algebra---have come up short. In part, these efforts fail to align the computing and mathematical concepts at the level of detail typically required to achieve transfer of learning. This paper describes Bootstrap, an early-programming curriculum that is designed to teach key algebra topics as students build their own videogames. We discuss the curriculum, explain how it aligns with algebra, and present initial data showing student performance gains on standard algebra problems after completing Bootstrap.


For newer and more detailed data on the same topic as this paper, see our follow-up paper. For more about the Bootstrap project, go directly to the project's Web site.



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