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Understanding How Spatial-Temporal Math Works

How students learn math has a lasting effect on their confidence and problem-solving abilities. Their perceptions of math—whether they find it scary and intimidating or fun and rewarding—can also have long-term impacts on their future career trajectory and economic stability. So how can we ensure a solid foundation in math for students to succeed in school and the 21st-century workplace?

Spatial-Temporal Math (or ST Math) is benefiting more than 1.3 million students in the United States, of which nearly 70% are from traditionally underserved socio-economic backgrounds. ST Math removes language barriers and involves animated depictions of math concepts, using a series of puzzles that make learning math fun and engaging. It does away with the “teaching by telling” approach and encourages “learning by doing.”

MIND Research Institute's mission is not only to create a solid math foundation for students but to mathematically equip them to solve the world’s most challenging problems.

Spatial-Temporal Math-2

In this white paper, you will learn how: 

Game-based learning can provide a preferred means to teach math.

  • Math is often associated with anxiety and other negative feelings, leading to a lack of motivation and other types of avoidant behavior. This aversion to math can have harmful impacts on student classroom performance. Game-based activities in ST Math can be enjoyable, which provide a preferred alternative to teaching math and a clear learning goal of improving math knowledge.

Spatial-Temporal learning helps build schemas. 

  • Schemas are abstract mental representations that describe an object, a string of events, or an idea. They’re created through experience and are constantly changing. They also allow for rapid information processing without the need for conscious and time-consuming thoughts. ST Math helps students develop math-related schemas through a feedback loop called the perception-action cycle

Spatial-Temporal learning provides formative feedback. 

  • When a video game is designed well, players can instantly observe the consequences of their actions and learn from their mistakes. By presenting math problems as interactive puzzles, formative feedback allows students to modify their thinking and refine their schemas. This not only builds deep conceptual understanding but also positively impacts the student’s self-beliefs

Spatial-Temporal learning enhances creative reasoning.

  • Studies reveal that creative reasoning outperforms algorithmic approaches by allowing students to be creators of their own knowledge. ST Math games guide students to build their understanding of mathematical concepts through creative reasoning, which they justify with their own choices and conclusions. Students also need to expend cognitive effort while playing ST Math games, also referred to as productive struggle, rather than simply memorizing a presented solution method. 

While ST Math continues to evolve, its patented approach has repeatedly led to educationally meaningful math improvements and positive effects on learning overall. Want to learn more about the benefits of a spatial-temporal approach to math? Read more about its concepts, mechanisms, and efficacy in the white paper.

Download White Paper

Want to learn about how teachers can support their students with grade-level learning? 

If you missed The Science of Math: Equitable Opportunities for On-Grade-Level Learning on September 14, 2022, you can view the recording at the link below. Nigel Nisbet and Andrew Coulson led a lively discussion in the third part of the Accelerate Math Learning with Neuroscience webinar series.

How can administrators provide teachers with the tools they need to meet varying students’ needs in mathematics? In this edWebinar, you’ll learn more about the science-driven approach that supports learning at grade level, as opposed to providing below-grade-level practice like many interventions. We’ll dive into the power of the prefrontal cortex in developing a deep, conceptual understanding in mathematics and reveal data on the impact of providing equitable opportunities for on-grade-level learning and growth.


Victor Nguyen

About the Author

Victor Nguyen is MIND’s Content and Community Specialist. Victor is a passionate storyteller with a penchant for creative writing. In his free time, you can find him engrossed in books, watching reruns of Frasier, or trying to meditate.


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