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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

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

Asha Lloyd

Assignment 2

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.

Asha Lloyd

Assignment 2

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

Asha Lloyd

Assignment 2

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).

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.

Asha Lloyd

Assignment 2

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

Asha Lloyd

Assignment 2

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).

Asha Lloyd

Assignment 2

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.

Asha Lloyd

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

Asha Lloyd

Assignment 2

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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Assignment 2

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Assignment 2

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APPENDIX 2

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Assignment 2

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APPENDIX 3

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Assignment 2

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APPENDIX 4

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APPENDIX 5

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Assignment 2

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