In 2012, Edward Hubbard, a cognitive neuroscientist and assistant professor with UW‒Madison’s Department of Educational Psychology, created the Educational Neuroscience Lab to understand — through functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) — how the physical changes that occur in children’s brains as they learn may help improve education practices.
Adults and children alike struggle with fractions, but it also turns out that learning fractions is vitally important for later math skills. Our lab has suggested that children’s ability to learn fractions might build on a more basic perceptual ability to see and understand non-symbolic ratios, which has been demonstrated even in non-human primates.
One of the key ways that we make sense of numbers is by creating a “mental number line”. Previous research with whole numbers has demonstrated that (at least in Western cultures) small numbers are thought of as being on the left side of space, and large numbers on the right.
Waisman researcher Edward Hubbard likes to tell a story about burgers. In the early 1980s, A&W Restaurants introduced a new burger that had a third of a pound of beef. This burger was supposed to …