Using tangible manipulatives and augmented reality to solve life-relevant math problems

ARMath is a mobile Augmented Reality (AR) system that allows children to discover mathematical concepts in familiar, ordinary objects and engage with math problems in meaningful contexts. Leveraging advanced computer vision, ARMath recognizes everyday objects, visualizes their mathematical attributes, and turns them into tangible or virtual manipulatives. Using the manipulatives, children can solve problems that situate math operations or concepts in specific everyday contexts. Informed by four participatory design sessions with teachers and children, we developed five ARMath modules to support basic arithmetic and 2D geometry. We also conducted an exploratory evaluation of ARMath with 27 children (ages 5-8) at a local children’s museum. Our findings demonstrate how ARMath engages children in math learning, how failures in AI can be used as learning opportunities, and challenges that children face when using ARMath.