# A study of the effect of a mathematics laboratory upon the performance of prospective elementary teachers enrolled in a mathematics class for elementary teachers

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The problem of this study was to investigate the effect of a mathematics laboratory upon the performance of prospective elementary teachers enrolled in a mathematics class for elementary teachers. The investigation consisted of the comparison of the effect of a mathematics laboratory teaching technique to the effect of the traditional lecture-discussion teaching technique. A total of seventy-three prospective elementary teachers participated in the study. The three independent variables in the study were as follows: 1. The teaching techniques were varied. In each school one-half of the subjects were randomly chosen and received part of their instruction in a mathematics laboratory. The other one-half of the participants received all of their instruction in a regular classroom using a lecture-discussion format. 2. The proportion of the time spent in the laboratory and lecture was varied. The laboratory time was one-half of the total class time for the experimental group in one school and one-third of the total class time for the experimental group in the other school. 3. The subjects were grouped according to age. In each experimental and control group the subjects were divided into two groupsâ€”those over twenty-four years old and those under twenty-five years old. The two dependent variables in the study were the student performance on an achievement test in mathematics and the student response on mathematics attitude scale. From the analysis of the hypotheses on achievement it may be concluded that over a period of one semester the achievement of prospective elementary teachers in a mathematics class for elementary teachers is neither improved nor damaged by the use of a mathematics laboratory for one-half or one-third of the regular instruction time. In addition, age is not a factor in the achievement of prospective elementary teachers in mathematics classes for elementary teachers when they are taught by the lecture-discussion method or by the laboratory method. From the analysis of the hypotheses on attitude it may be concluded that over a period of one semester the attitude of prospective elementary teachers is neither improved nor damaged by the use of a mathematics laboratory rather than a lecture-discussion format for one-half or one-third of the regular instruction time. In addition, age is not a factor in the attitude of prospective elementary teachers in mathematics classes for elementary teachers when they are taught by the lecture-discussion method or by the laboratory method. From the analysis of the correlational hypotheses it may be concluded that there i.s a very hi.gh. correlation between the attitude of prospective elementary teachers toward mathematics and their achievement in mathematics classes for elementary teachers.