Students’ conception of set theory through a board game and an active-learning unit


  • Surasak Pawa Institute for Innovative Learning, Mahidol University, Nakhon Pathom 73170
  • Parames Laosinchai Institute for Innovative Learning, Mahidol University, Nakhon Pathom 73170
  • Artorn Nokkaew Faculty of Education, Naresuan University, Pitsanulok, 65000, Thailand
  • Wararat Wongkia Institute for Innovative Learning, Mahidol University, Nakhon Pathom 73170



We investigated whether two different learning interventions, Setarea board game and an active-learning unit, can promote the concepts of set theory in secondary students. Setarea was developed to help students learn set theory through the game’s components, mechanics, and missions. The game contained various decks of cards (collections), while its mechanics allowed players to perform different actions on the sets of cards (operations). The game’s missions required students to solve problems both individually and cooperatively. In the active-learning unit, a series of tasks related to set theory were provided. Students also cooperatively completed the provided tasks. The formal definitions and notations were introduced only in the active-learning unit. Seventh graders (have not learned), 9th graders (about to learn), and 11th graders (have learned) were recruited. For each grade, students were separated into two groups, engaging in the different learning interventions. We employed a pre-test–intervention–post-test design. In addition, we examined the students’ flow experiences which included three main dimensions: enjoyment, concentration, and control. A total of 183 Thai secondary students voluntarily participated in this study. The results revealed that both interventions significantly improved the students’ understanding, although no statistically significant differences between the two groups were found. Additionally, for each grade level, the students’ overall flow experiences from the board-game group were higher than those from the active-learning group, indicating that the board game was more immersive than the active-learning unit.






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