Using children's representations to investigate meaning-making in mathematics

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This article explores how young children's representations can reveal the ways in which children make meaning in mathematics. It has been suggested by Kendrick and McKay (2004) that as educators seek to acknowledge children's diverse experiences, they must also embrace children's multifaceted ways of knowing. As such, educators' major pedagogical challenge is to help children transform what they know into modes of representation. Building on ideas published elsewhere (see Smith & MacDonald, 2009), this article presents examples of children's mathematical meaning-making collected during a three-year study focusing on children's representations of their mathematical experiences and understandings. The representations presented include drawings and narratives produced by children aged four to six years from two Australian primary schools. This article suggests that by asking children to create representations we are offered an insight into the ways in which children construct meaningful understandings of mathematics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-73
Number of pages9
JournalAustralasian Journal of Early Childhood
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


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