Children and Number: Difficulties in Learning Mathematics

Overview

The importance of learning mathematics is constantly stressed by educationalists and employers alike. Yet survey after survey shows that large numbers of children leave school lacking both competence and interest in mathematics. What is going wrong and what should be done about it?

In Children and Number Martin Hughes proposes a new perspective on children's early attempts to understand mathematics. He describes the surprisingly substantial knowledge about number which children ...

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Overview

The importance of learning mathematics is constantly stressed by educationalists and employers alike. Yet survey after survey shows that large numbers of children leave school lacking both competence and interest in mathematics. What is going wrong and what should be done about it?

In Children and Number Martin Hughes proposes a new perspective on children's early attempts to understand mathematics. He describes the surprisingly substantial knowledge about number which children acquire naturally before they start school, and contrasts this with the difficulties presented by the formal written symbolism of mathematics in the classroom. He argues that children need to build links between their informal and their formal understanding of number, and shows what happens when these links are not made.

Children and Number describes many novel ways in which young children can be helped to learn about number. The author shows that the written symbols children often invent for themselves are more meaningful to them than the symbols that they are taught. He presents simple number games for introducing children to mathematical symbols in ways they can appreciate and understand. Dr. Hughes also describes how the computer language LOGO can be adapted for young children, and shows the dramatic effect that LOGO can have on their mathematical understanding.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
After describing the problems students have with numbers when they reach school, Hughes attacks the educational ideas of Piaget as they relate to math. He then details his own research with preschool childrensimple number games using small containers, bricks, and dice. He found that a serious gap existed between mathematical knowledge the youngsters had when they reached school and the connections made with that knowledge at school. Finally, he presents a new style of teaching numbers which relies heavily on the number games and the computer language LOGO. Thought provoking reading for educators and parents. Joanne Troutner, Library Media Specialist, Tippecanoe School Corp., Lafayette, Ind.
From the Publisher
"This is a useful book, both for teachers and students in education. Each chapter has a concise overview and the index is clear and accessible. The bibliography is extensive, and all the big names are here including Cockroft, Donaldson and Shuard. It is easy to read and well-illustrated throughout, with lots of practical suggestions for classroom use." Suzanne Hewitt, Times Educational Supplement

"Simply essential reading for the primary school teacher." David Jones, Child Education

Children and Number has been awarded the Standing Conference on Studies in Education prize for the best book on education published in 1986

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780631135791
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/28/1986
  • Pages: 208

Meet the Author

Martin Hughes is Lecturer in Education at the University of Exeter.

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Margaret Donaldson.

Introduction.

1. What is the Problem?.

2. Piaget under Attack.

3. Addition and Subtraction before School.

4. What's so Hard About Two and Two.

5. Children's Invention of Written Arithmetic.

6. The Written Number Systems of Other Cultures.

7. Understanding the Written Symbolism of Arithmetic.

8. Children's Difficulties in School.

9. Learning through Number Games.

10. Learning with LOGO.

11. A New Approach to Number.

References.

Index.

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