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Toys for Thoughts

Learning Math Through Play

Tanushree Sengupta '17 was a mechanical engineering major and worked for two years as an engineer before beginning the Product Design program at UArts. Tanushree chose her thesis project with the intent of introducing complex mathematical concepts into children’s toys, specifically from the ages of 4-9. Her inspiration for this project came from her real world experience as an engineer, where she realized that most of her colleagues, and indeed most Americans, struggle with math. Mathematics is abstracted too early in education without any correlation to real world scenarios.  In the field of education, there should be no such thing as a “math person.”

Through research, Tanushree targeted factors that help make successful math tools bridge gaps between manipulative and abstract concepts. Design features were chosen to keep children focused on the aspects of the tools which provide learning opportunities. Material choices aid in learning and memory retention by providing physical feedback. By using play as a mechanism to learn math, I am ultimately enabling children to recall mathematical concepts associated with positive experiences from their past.

See Tanushree's process here, and successes and challenge through prototyping here.

See how Tanushree has continued work on this project after graduation at toys4thoughts.com and toysforthoughts.tumblr.com.