Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Child's counting comprehension may depend on objects counted, study shows

Date:
April 18, 2013
Source:
University of Notre Dame
Summary:
Psychologists have found that use of certain objects for counting have mixed results with preschoolers, particularly if those objects are rich in perceptual detail (bright and shiny).

Math manipulatives. It is easier for children to use objects in mathematical tasks when those objects have maximum 'bling' and minimum recognizability, according to the authors.
Credit: © Miriam Dörr / Fotolia

Concrete objects -- such as toys, tiles and blocks -- that students can touch and move around, called manipulatives, have been used to teach basic math skills since the 1980s. Use of manipulatives is based on the long-held belief that young children's thinking is strictly concrete in nature, so concrete objects are assumed to help them learn math concepts.

However, new research from the University of Notre Dame suggests that not all manipulatives are equal. The types of manipulatives may make a difference in how effectively a child learns basic counting and other basic math concepts. The study will be published in the May edition of Child Development.

University of Notre Dame Associate Professor of Psychology Nicole McNeil, who researches how children think, learn and solve problems in mathematics, together with Notre Dame graduate student Lori Petersen found that use of certain objects have mixed results with preschoolers, particularly if those objects are rich in perceptual detail (bright and shiny).

Objects that are brightly colored, unusually textured or highly dimensional may capture children's attention and help children stay focused on the given task. However, the researchers found that when children already were familiar with the objects, then these perceptually detailed objects actually hindered performance on counting tasks because they require dual representation -- they must be represented both as objects themselves and as the abstract mathematical concept they are intended to represent. When children already have established knowledge of the objects, this increased attention often is directed to the objects and their known purpose rather than to the mathematical task at hand. Conversely, when children didn't have established knowledge of the objects, perceptual richness helped performance.

"These findings suggest that it is easier for children to use objects in mathematical tasks when those objects have maximum 'bling' and minimum recognizability," McNeil said.

"More generally, these findings suggest that teachers may benefit from taking children's previous knowledge into account when deciding which materials to bring into their classrooms."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Notre Dame. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lori A. Petersen, Nicole M. McNeil. Effects of Perceptually Rich Manipulatives on Preschoolers' Counting Performance: Established Knowledge Counts. Child Development, 2012; DOI: 10.1111/cdev.12028

Cite This Page:

University of Notre Dame. "Child's counting comprehension may depend on objects counted, study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130418154405.htm>.
University of Notre Dame. (2013, April 18). Child's counting comprehension may depend on objects counted, study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130418154405.htm
University of Notre Dame. "Child's counting comprehension may depend on objects counted, study shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130418154405.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) — The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) — A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins