Convocations leading “Peg + Cat” math skills theatre project

A nationwide study aimed at understanding the impact a live performance has on a student’s early math skills is being led by Dr. Amanda Mayes, the Manager for Education for Purdue Convocations. If you would be interested in participating in this study, each student in your class (or the teacher) would be provided with a free copy of the book. Each student would complete a short quiz to assess their understanding of the book. Although participation in the study is not mandatory for those attending the performance, we would like to have as many schools participating as possible. If your school is interested in participating, please read the additional information below, and sign up for the study.

Participate in the Study


Learning Early Math Skills Through Theatre: An Examination of the Impact of a Live Performance of Peg + Cat: The Big Dog Problem


Laura Bofferding, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Mathematics Education

Signe Kastberg, Ph.D., Professor, Mathematics Education

Amanda Mayes, Ph.D., Manager of Education, Purdue Convocations 


Project Description

The primary goal of this study is to understand the impact a live performance has on a young child’s understanding of early math concepts including measurement, shapes, patterns, and problem solving. In order to meet this goal, schools will be recruited to have their students attend a live performance of Peg + Cat: The Big Dog Problem by the Fred Rogers Company and Bay Area Children’s Theatre. This show is based upon the PBS Kids TV series and book of the same title by Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson. This book is a level two reader. Students in preschool through first grade will be targeted to attend the performance. All students who participate in the study will be provided with a copy of the book. All students will have the book read to them as part of the research at varying times.

Schools will be randomly assigned to one of several treatment groups (read in advance, read after performance) or control group. Schools will be provided with detailed instructions explaining when they should read the text and complete the assessment in relation to their performance date. The evaluation tool will assess knowledge of measurement, shapes, patterns, and problem solving.

This study will start to construct the body of knowledge on the impact of the performing arts on early mathematical skills. Participating arts organizations will be recognized in all publications resulting from this research.

Study Approval

The study will be submitted for approval to Purdue’s Institutional Review Board. You may elect to receive a copy of the study approval form.

Further Questions

Please contact either your local arts presenting organization or Dr. Amanda Mayes at Purdue University with further questions via email at or via phone at (765) 494-2695.

Peg + Cat Live! school matinee at Purdue

Peg + Cat Live!

Peg + Cat Live!: The Big Dog Problem

March 4, 2019
Loeb Playhouse

Get ready for Peg + Cat Live!: The Big Dog Problem, a musical with wild comedy, fun songs, and an appearance from the coolest pals ever, Ramone! The Emmy-winning PBS Kids series Peg + Cat comes to life on stage! Reserve your school field trip today for March 4, 2019.



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