Bachelor's Thesis

Conquering math playfully and body-based - the role of embodied cognition for children learning mathematics


Aurelia Föllner

Processing Period:

27.06.2022 - 19.09.2022


The concept of “Embodied Cognition” has become increasingly important over the span of the last twenty years, especially in educational contexts. The approach’s main principles are that cognition is closely tied to the body and its movements as well as that it is situated in the respective environment. There have been some attempts to integrate “Embodied Cognition” in form of gestures in classrooms while learning science or mathematics. However, relatively little is known about the possible effects of using the whole body to foster basic understanding of abstract mathematical concepts of children, especially those who struggle with this basic knowledge. The aim of this thesis is to develop a learning application to help children to strengthen their understanding through VR. Since Virtual Reality technology has shown to positively contribute to learners’ motivation during a lesson and props are digitally more easily available than in an analogous setting, an entertaining proof-of-concept application will be developed using the game engine Unity to combine the benefits of “Embodied Cognition” and Virtual Reality. Therefore, the Meta Oculus Quest, a Virtual Reality Headset, will be used for playing the game. The game will consist of several different interaction points which the children are meant to go through. Each point will teach them a different concept (e.g., number magnitude, addition, or subtraction) in a playful way. Finally, a focus group test will be conducted and therefore ca. 30 children from a third-grade class in elementary school will be recruited. The aim is to get feedback from the children after they have played the interaction scenarios to evaluate whether the application motivates the students and whether they think a game like this can be helpful to foster mathematic understanding.