facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

iPad app helps students gain key skill for math and science

Sept. 16, 2013 at 4:30 PM   |   Comments

SAN DIEGO, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- U.S. engineers say an iPad app they developed can teach students a key skill -- spatial visualization -- needed for success in math, science and engineering.

The engineers at the University of California, San Diego, report their app showed promise during testing in a summer program for high school students and undergraduates at the university's Jacobs School of Engineering.

"As an engineer I visualize things before I build them," Nate Delson, a lecturer in mechanical engineering, said. "I visualize them in 3D, I visualize them in 2D, and I imagine what they're going to look like and how they will work before I build them.

"This process is called spatial visualization. Many kids learn spatial visualization skills by playing with construction toys, such as Legos, growing up. But some do not and it's these students [who] can struggle with technical subjects in college."

The app includes a sketching feature that allows users to draw 3D shapes on a 2D grid.

"The physical act of sketching is important for learning spatial visualization," Delson said.

The app offers an immediate feedback feature that tells users whether their sketches are correct; if they are not, users can peek at the solution or try again on their own.

"It is like having a private tutor sitting right next to you," Delson said.

Previous studies have shown students who improve their skills at visualizing objects in 3D got better grades in math, physics and computer sciences and were less likely to drop out of those majors, the researchers said.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
New dinosaur species with giant nose discovered in Utah New dinosaur species with giant nose discovered in Utah
2
Perth's first iPhone buyer immediately drops brand new phone on live TV Perth's first iPhone buyer immediately drops brand new phone on live TV
3
Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police
4
Only 5 billion years until Andromeda Galaxy eats Milky Way Only 5 billion years until Andromeda Galaxy eats Milky Way
5
BYU electric car breaks another land speed record BYU electric car breaks another land speed record
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback