30 March 2017
Psychologists from Aston University have been awarded a public engagement grant to design an app aimed at boosting children’s consumption of vegetables as well as improving their maths skills.
The new app will enable parents, teachers and childcare staff to play games with children that boost their exposure to vegetables. The app will use a range of psychological methods that are proven to increase interest in new foods and eagerness to try them.
Dr Claire Farrow, who will lead the project, said, “although we have ideas from our research for how we can expose children to vegetables in an app format, we need financial support to actually put this into place. The funding from the BPS will allow us to develop the app. It will also allow us to conduct focus groups with parents and educators: this is the most exciting part of the project as it will really allow us to develop an app that has the needs of parents, children and educators at its core."
The app will also incorporate ideas from the Maths Mastery method of teaching basic mathematical concepts through visual learning. This method is popular in East Asian countries and a recent trial has found it more effective in developing maths skills in younger children than the traditional methods taught in the UK.
“The UK government has recently committed £41m on promoting Maths Mastery in our schools,” added Dr Farrow. “Our new app is therefore very timely. It will combine visual exposure to healthy foods with visual maths-based skills, making it useful for educators and also parents who want to use this new method of teaching mathematics.”