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ERIC Number: EJ1165352
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1085-4908
Making Sense with Manipulatives: Developing Mathematical Experiences for Early Childhood Teachers
Furman, Cara E.
Education and Culture, v33 n2 Article 5 2017
This paper is premised on the fact that math can be an important tool in helping people make sense of the world. Math offers a unique and particular lens, helping people to focus on a range of characteristics from shape and amount to the relationship between the general and the particular. To promote math as a tool for making sense, early childhood math instruction ought to teach it in a manner that helps children make sense of mathematical concepts. Specifically, I argue here that manipulatives are often brought into the early childhood classroom to promote "hands-on" learning without facilitating making sense. Taking a mixed-methods approach, I move between philosophical analysis to qualitative research to illustrate specific criteria promoting making sense in math education. Building primarily on the philosophy of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, I first define what I mean by "making sense." John Dewey's writing about math education and experience provides a framework for making sense with manipulatives. I then focus on how preservice teachers can teach math to young children in a manner that makes sense. I also share how I changed my instruction using criteria established by early childhood math educators Angela Giglio Andrews and Paul R. Trafton. I conclude by arguing that a math education that makes sense is both a democratic right and necessity.
Purdue University Press. Stewart Center Room 370, 504 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907. Tel: 800-247-6553; Fax: 419-281-6883; e-mail: pupress@purdue,edu; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Preschool Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A