Mathematics is an abstract and must be learned by students since they are in elementary school. According to Piaget, a student’s development is a continuous process of transformation (Ojose, 2008), including cognitive development. The development of children’s cognitive abilities is not just the acquisition of knowledge. It is also important to develop or improve one’s mental abilities. Cognitive development starts from childhood to adulthood, ranging from specific processes to abstract and logical concepts. Elementary school students up to junior high school students are still mostly in the concrete thinking stage. Something logical, if children who think concretely find it difficult to learn something abstract. For this reason, according to David Ausubel’s learning theory, it is a theory that compares meaningful learning with rote learning. In order for students to learn something abstract to be meaningful, abstract mathematics learning needs to be assisted by props that can concretize something abstract, so that it can be understood by students. Learning media have an important role in supporting the understanding of mathematical concepts for junior high school students. The use of learning media not only makes learning more interesting, but also helps students internalize mathematical concepts more concretely. Learning media help students concretize mathematical concepts that may be difficult to understand only by theory or verbal explanation. For this reason, the Mathematics Learning Research Group of Elementary and Secondary Education, Department of Mathematics Education (https://math.fkip.uns.ac.id/), Universitas Sebelas Maret (https://uns.ac.id/id/) in collaboration with MGMP Mathematics SMP Surakarta City provided training to junior high school mathematics teachers related to the use of virtual laboratories for mathematics learning. This activity is part of the Research Group’s community service.

Training activities were carried out at SMP Negeri 12 Surakarta City with 4 meetings from June to August 2024. The training activities carried out consisted of 4 main stages. The first stage was the delivery of material on the Utilization of Phet Colorado and Mathigon. The material was delivered by the Head of the Research Group, Dr. Imam Sujadi, M.Si. In addition, members of the Research Group also participated, namely Ira Kurniawati, S.Si., M.Pd., Riki Andriatna, S.Pd., M.Pd., Arum Nur Wulandari, S.Pd., M.Pd. and Dr. Dra. Yuli Bangun Nursanti, M.Pd. At the end of the first stage, all participants were given Worksheets with the Know How to Learn (TPI) Learning Approach. Furthermore, the second stage continued the discussion on the use of Phet Colorado in teaching one of the contents in junior high school mathematics. After that, in groups, participants were asked to try to utilize the virtual props in PhET Colorado. After that, independently, participants were given the task of trying other content to teach utilizing PhET Colorado. Then in the third stage or the third meeting continued with activities to discuss the use of Mathigon in teaching one of the contents in junior high school mathematics. After that, in groups, participants were asked to try to utilize the virtual props in Mathigon. Then independently participants were given the task to try other content to teach utilizing Mathigon. Furthermore, the last activity of all training participants was asked to develop teaching modules by utilizing virtual laboratories.

The entire series of service activities ended with the implementation of focus group discussions. Through this activity, some inspiration or some examples of mathematics learning using virtual laboratory props with Phet Colorado and Mathigon on fractional number material were also presented.

Reference

Ojose, B. (2008). Applying Piaget’s theory of cognitive development to mathematics instruction. The Mathematics Educator, 18(1), 26-30.