Exploring interactive tangrams for teaching basic school physics

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Jain, Nibha
Do, Ellen Yi-Luen
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This Thesis explores the application of Tangible User Interfaces to Education. For this, a research study was conducted by building and testing an interactive game called Tangram Bridge. This Tangram based game was designed to teach players about basic physics principles such as balance, friction and motion on inclined planes. The focus of this Tangram Bridge is middle school physics, and therefore concerns children aged 11 years and up, their instructors and care givers. This research also lays a lot of emphasis on constructive play amongst children. Tangram Bridge is a versatile platform that can be scaled for younger or older populations A comparative study of existing Tangible User Interfaces ( TUIs) revealed opportunity spaces for this project. Through a compilation of related research in the fields of education, hands on learning, Tangible interaction and understanding play and learning amongst children, the constructionist views on learning are explored as guidelines for the design of this study. Through the analysis of comparative research studies, trends on TUI with relation to education emerged, informing the design process for Tangram Bridge. This research study discusses the application of Tangible user interfaces to education. It combines the research data collected through market research, user testing and literature reviews to explore the efficacy of TUI as teaching tool for abstract concepts that require imagination and experimentation.
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