Does a targeted intervention utilizing physical manipulatives help students better answer assessment questions on chemical reactions?
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This study aimed to determine the effect of physical manipulative-based interventions on student quiz and test performance in a middle school physical sciences course. Students were introduced to the concept and rules of chemical reactions and completed formative assessments prior to the intervention. Then physical-manipulative-based interventions were implemented in class to aid in the understanding of the mechanics of chemical reactions. Students were assessed twice post-intervention, once immediately after the intervention and again a few weeks later during a summative test. Furthermore, students’ spatial reasoning was used as an independent variable to determine whether this ability impacts the effects of the intervention. Student assessment scores trended upwards for all spatial visualization abilities. The most significant jump in scores was shown to be between the pre-intervention assessment and the final test scores.