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Assignment 2:

Written Responses to a Case Study Of


Children Learning Mathematical Skills
and Concepts: a focus on threading and
count, sort & match iPad app.
Asha Lloyd
Student I.D. 23245059

Asha Lloyd

Assignment 2

Recently, after analysing two mathematical resources and their mathematical


potential, I implemented these resources into a 3 year old kinder room and a 4 year
old kinder room. In this case study, I will explore my findings in conjunction with
the estimations of the mathematical potential, followed by making some suggestions
as to why it did or did not work and what could be done next.

RESOURCE 1 THREADING
DETAILS OF IMPLEMENTATION
The context in which this activity was implemented was a 3 year old kinder room
with 18 children on that particular day. It was a Friday and the beading and
threading materials had been put out all week. However, the teacher had not placed
any mathematical emphasis on the activity, rather just let the children play with
them as they please. Thus, I saw a perfect opportunity to introduce patterning after
they had become familiar with the logistics of threading; getting the string through
the hole of the bead and pulling it down to the bottom (Please see Appendix 1 for
lesson plan). This ensured that the children had a higher opportunity to focus on the
idea of patterning and were free from distraction. An advantage of this context was
also that there were other activities available to the children, so whoever came over
to the beading and threading table wanted to do that activity which led to further
engagement and potentially an increased learning ability. The table included a bowl
of beads, a variety of coloured stretchy string, and example cards with ABABAB,
ABCDABCDABCD, and ABBABBABB patterns (please refer to Appendix 2 for a
photo of the table set up).
ANALYSIS
This analysis will be focussed on one child, John, who was particularly interested in
the beading and threading table all week. He frequently visited the table making
necklaces for his mummy and the teacher. When we set up the table on Friday with
the pattern example cards, he got quite excited at the idea of a new beading
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concepts. I asked John what he thought a pattern was, in which he responded


pattern is doing it all over again, which indicates that he had some knowledge of
basic repeating patterns. John chose the five component pattern which was red, pink,
green, orange, blue (please refer to Appendix 3). He was able to correctly follow the
pattern by following what colour was next with his finger. He also frequently
repeated the colours he had already done to determine what colour was next. This is
in line with Clements and Sarama (2009) who state that by the age of 4, children are
able to extend ABABAB patterns. Similarly, the Victorian Early Years Learning
Framework [VEYLF] states that children up to 5 years should be able to make
predictions and generalisations about their daily activities, aspects of the natural
world and environments, using patterns they generate or identify, and communicate
these using mathematical language and symbols (Department of Education and
Early Childhood Development [DEECD], 2011, p. 26). John was able to extend
repeating patterns whilst also explaining what he thought a pattern involved using
mathematical language.
Although John was mostly capable of completing the five component pattern, there
were a couple of times where he lost track of what colour he was up to and repeated
the same colour twice. When I drew attention to the fact that he had made a mistake,
John said that different bead is making it impossible, to which I said why is it
make it impossible?, and he said because that looks the same and its not meant to
look the same there. John then took the wrong bead off and replaced it with the
correct one, which followed by a satisfied smile and further engagement to the
activity. Knaus (2013) suggests that mistakes like these are normal and children still
may get the order wrong sometimes despite their overall understanding. The
language that John use to explain the mistake he made in the pattern such as the
same, different, and impossible further emphasises Johns understanding of
simple mathematical language and his ability to explain the concept of patterns. Fox
(2006) suggests that the study of patterns is a pathway to developing algebraic
reasoning and leads to the heart of acquiring deep mathematical understandings.
Thus, Johns understanding of patterns is leading him along the pathway to
algebraic reasoning and deep mathematical concepts.

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RECOMMENDATIONS
In Assignment 1, I predicted the mathematical potential of this resource would be
that 3 year old children could extend and repeat patterns, whilst also be able to
identify incorrect elements and fill in missing elements. The VEYLF and the
numeracy matrix also suggest that children should be able to identify patterns and
communicate them using mathematical language and educators should be providing
children with opportunities to accept new challenges, make new discoveries, and
celebrate effort and achievement and to use symbols and different representations
of their mathematics (Perry, Dockett, & Harley, 2012, p. 165; DEECD, 2011). The
implementation of this activity proved these predictions to be correct, in that John
was able to repeat extending patterns, whilst explaining the concept of pattern using
mathematical language. As an educator, I provided John with an opportunity to
recognise his efforts through bringing his attention a problem in his pattern and
letting him figure out what the problem was, to which he responded with
satisfaction. However, one aspect that I predicted that John was unable to do was
identify an incorrect element in his pattern. Although he recognised the problem
after I brought his attention to it, he was unable to identify it first without my
recognition.

Recommendations for Johns future learning may involve developing his algebraic
reasoning through problem solving activities. Problem solving activities should arise
from authentic experiences during daily schedules and routines (Knaus, 2013).
Appropriate for problem solving activities for John may include puzzles,
construction and building activities, and experimental crafts (Learning Links, 2009).
The educator could also pose problem solving questions for John such as Tim has
chicken pox. He has five spots on each leg, and five spots on each arm, and five spots
on his tummy. How many chicken pox spots does Tim have?, On a farm there was
a snake in the grass. It saw twenty- four legs in the sheep yard. How many sheep did
it see?, and If three people were at a party and gave each other presents, how many

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presents would there be? (Charlesworth & Leali, 2011). In order to assist children in
the problem solving process, educators can ask questions, provide critical feedback,
and model strategies to help children find the solution (Knaus, 2013).

RESOURCE 2 iPad APP COUNT, SORT & MATCH


DESCRIPTION OF IMPLEMENTATION
This activity was implemented in the context of a 4year old kinder room with the
presence of 5 year olds that had stayed in kinder for an extra year. It was a Monday
and 15 children were in the room on that particular day. The children had been
exposed to numbers from 0-20 through determining the number of children who
attended kinder that day, the date, and the number of month it was. They had
experience of sorting through a toy that involved putting shapes into the correctly
shaped holes, however they had not yet experienced any matching games to my
knowledge. At the time, they had a space ship set up for space week which is where
I implemented the activity as it was dark - easy to see iPad screen, and quiet
children had more of an opportunity to focus on the activity (please see Appendix 4
for lesson plan). I conducted the activity 1 on 1 with no other children around to
ensure they didnt give my focus child any answers or distracted him (please refer to
Appendix 5 for photo of area). The iPad app had three activities, the counting game
involved counting the number of objects in a tree and then writing the numerical
value and the word representation, the soring game involved sorting a variety of
clothing off a clothing line into their appropriate baskets which had pictures on the
front, and the matching game involved matching cards with a number of dots on
them to the appropriate card which had the same amount of objects.

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ANALYSIS
My focus child for this analysis was a boy named Tom, who had stayed in kinder for
another year before primary school therefore was 5.5years old. He had an extra year
of kinder level mathematical experiences in which the educator had expanded on to
give him more complex mathematical activities such as counting how many children
were at kinder when it was a high number, complex puzzles, and often aimed
estimation questions at Tom during experimentation activities. I will only be
focussing on the counting game whilst analysing Toms mathematical ability for this
assignment to provide more of a focus. Tom began the activity with the counting
game, which he chose the 1-1 counting option rather than the random number
option. I asked Tom to predict what number would come next every time, which he
was able to do all the way up to 20. When Tom was counting the objects in the tree,
he used his finger to point to them and vocalised 1-1 counting as he went. In Toms
representation of his counting, he is demonstrating rational counting through giving
each group a number name (Knaus, 2013). Knaus (2013) stated that this tends to
occur between 3-5years of age. The VEYLF supports this statement through
suggesting that children of prepatory level should be able to count small sets using
the numbers 0-20 (DEECD, 2011, p. 26). This is also inline with the Australian
Mathematics Curriculum at the foundation level which suggests that children of
prepatory level should be able to connect number names, numerals and quantities,
including zero, initially up to 10 and then beyond (Victorian Curriculum and
Assessment Authority [VCAA], 2014, p. 1).
As well as understanding 1-1 correspondence principle, I observed that Tom also
had an understanding of the stable order principle; when children realise the
counting sequence is consistent, and the cardinal principle; children understand the
last object in the count represents how many there are (Knaus, 2013). Tom
demonstrated his understanding of the stable order principle through his continuous
counting, particularly through the teens, by not making any mistakes in his counting
and predicting what number would be next. He demonstrated his understanding of
the cardinal principle through his answers when I clarified how many objects he

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counted at the end of each count. His answers were all correct, however he did
hesitate during some of the teens which is common amongst pre-schoolers (Knaus,
2013).
Lastly, Tom also had a basic ability to subitise small numbers up to 3. When the
objects appeared on the tree up to 3, Tom automatically knew and didnt need to use
his finger to count them or vocally count them one by one. Knaus (2013) suggests
that 4 year olds are starting to develop the understanding of number recognition up
to five, thus Tom being a little bit older may be at higher end of the development in
understanding surrounding subitising of small numbers.
RECOMMENDATIONS
In Assignment 1, I predicted that a 5 year old should be able to count the objects and
understand the quantities up to 20. The VEYLF and the Australian Mathematics
Curriculum also suggest that prepatory level children should have an understanding
of numbers up to 20 (DEECD, 2011; VCAA, 2014). The implementation of this iPad
app counting game proved these predictions to be correct, with Tom being able to
count the numbers up to 20 and recognise the quantities at the end of each count.
However, what I did not predict was that Tom would be able to subitise small
numbers up to 3. I would recommend that next time when evaluating the potential
of a counting resource I would take into consideration subitising, as Knaus (2013)
suggests that it is a important concept for young children to learn.
Recommendations for Toms future learning may be introducing basic addition
considering that he has developed an understanding of numbers up to 20. This could
involve implementing addition activities such as having a number line on the floor
and having a picture of a pond at the end and then asking children to be frogs and
how many jumps they would need to get to the end, use an egg carton with two
counters in each hole and ask the child to count them in twos, and when its a
childs birthday ask the children to count how many candles are lit and how many
more need to be lit (Knaus, 2013).

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CONCLUSION
Overall, I believe my estimations of the mathematical potential of each resource
were mostly correct, however it was interesting to see how the implementing of
resources unfolded and the observations of children participating in the activities. I
personally preferred the threading activity as a mathematical resource as it is
engaging, flexible, and has so many mathematical potentials. This assignment was
thoroughly interesting and valuable as it really highlighted how important it is to
choose mathematical resources in line with childrens abilities and interests, as well
as the great mathematical work that can be produced when the resources are chosen
carefully.

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Assignment 2

REFERENCES
Charlesworth, R., & Leali, S.A. (2011). Using problem solving to assess young
childrens mathematical knowledge. Early Childhood Education Journal, 39(6), pp. 373382. Doi: 10.1007/s10643-011-0480-y.
Clements, D. & Sarama, J. (2009). Early Childhood Mathematics Education Research:
Learning Trajectories for Young Children. New York, NY: Routledge.
Department of Education and Early Childhood Development [DEECD] (2011).
Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework: For All Children From Birth
To Eight Years. East Melbourne, VIC: Department of Education and Early Childhood
Development. Retrieved 18th October, 2015 from
http://www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/Documents/earlyyears/
veyldf_for_children_from_birth_to_8.pdf.
Fox, J. (2006). A justification for mathematical modelling experiences in the
prepatory classroom. In P. Grootenboer, R. Zevenbergen, and M. Chinnappan (Eds).
(2012), Proceedings 29th Annual Conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group
of Australasia 1, (pp. 221-228). Retrieved 18th October, 2015 from
http://eprints.qut.edu.au/4919/1/4919_1.pdf.
Knaus, M. (2013). Maths is All Around You: Developmental Mathematical Concepts in the
Early Years. Albert Park, VIC: Teaching Solutions.
Learning Links (2009). Encouraging Problem Solving Skills [Fact Sheet]. Retrieved 18th
October, 2015 from http://www.learninglinks.org.au/wpcontent/uploads/2012/11/ecs-tip-sheets-concepts-problem-solving.pdf.
Perry, B., Dockett, S., & Harley, E. (2012). The Early Years Learning Framework for
Australia and the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics Linking Educators Practice
through Pedagogical Inquiry Questions. In B. Atweh, M. Goos, R. Jorgensen & D.
Siemon, (Eds.). (2012). Engaging the Australian National Curriculum: Mathematics
Perspectives from the Field, (pp. 153-174). Online Publication: Mathematics Education

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Research Group of Australasia. Retrieved 18th October, 2015 from


http://www.merga.net.au/sites/default/files/editor/books/1/Chapter%208%20P
e rry .pdf.
Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority [VCAA] (2014). Foundational Level:
Mathematics. Retrieved 18th October, 2015 from
http://ausvels.vcaa.vic.edu.au/Foundationlevel.

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APPENDIX 1

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APPENDIX 2

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APPENDIX 3

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APPENDIX 4

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APPENDIX 5

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