Student Interviews are a way of getting to know a concept from the viewpoint of a child. Deepening our understanding into how a child grasps a topic and what misunderstandings s/he can have helps us prepare questions and design the module in Mindspark, so as to address those misconceptions.

Below is a small student interview conducted by Karthik Dinne, Educational Specialist, Mindspark on the topic - Concept of Zero

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Case 1:
While doing the “remedial on division”, for a particular question student got the remainder in work space as “000”.He then tried to enter “000” in the place the answer box. This box accepted only two zeroes. Then he was complaining that the system is wrong and is not accepting “000”.
Me: So, Are both 00 and 000 the same?
Student: No, they are different.
Me: What about 0, 00, 000 ?
Student: All three are different.
Me: Why?
Student: Number of digits are different in each of those.
Me: <Showing “1” and “01”> Are these the same?
Student: No
Me: Why?
Student: There is extra zero in “01”.
Me: What about “01” and “10”?
Student: Both are different, ek zero aage hai, ek zero peeche hai. !
Me: 002 and 3, which is bigger?
Student: 002
<This student didn’t understand the concept of zero. He was comparing numbers by merely comparing the number of digits>
Case 2:
 
Question:  8-9 = ?
Student: 0
Reasoning: Student opened up 8 fingers and said “I have 8 chocolates”. I have to give 9 to my friend. He slowly started closing his fingers one by one. By the time he counted 8, all his fingers were closed. He didn’t know how to count the next number 9 but then said.. “abhi toh mere paas koi chocolate nahi bacha hai. So “0” hi hoga answer.
 
This student was still using the analogy of subtraction using objects learnt in his lower classes and was finding difficult to comprehend while trying to apply the same to negative integers.

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