A fairly simple computer game helps kids improve in math, according to a new study from Johns Hopkins University.
A press release by the school states the research is based on the fact that "humans and animals are born with an intuitive sense of quantities."
Because this innate ability has been linked to mathematical aptitude, the researchers wanted to see if improving the former could boost the latter.
So the team created different versions of computer game where 40 five-year-old kids had to quickly say if more yellow or blue dots flashed on screen.
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The release further notes, "Some of the kids started with easier questions that gradually became harder. Other kids started with the hard questions, and a third group worked through a mix of hard and easy problems."
Afterwards, the children were given a vocabulary or math quiz.
While their vocabulary stayed the same, those who received the progressively harder dot choices—which is considered the proper way to learn—got an average of about 80 percent answers correct on their math test.
Meanwhile, the others who either started off with the most challenging dots or had a mix of easy and hard screens received lower marks, at 60 percent and 70 percent, respectively.
As such, the team concluded that improving kids' natural sense of quantities benefited their math scores in the short term, so the next step of their research will be on achieving long-term results.