The effect of concrete materials on children's subsequent numerical explanations: Metaphorical priming

Andrew Manches, Mihaela Dragomir

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

This paper contributes evidence for the claim that gestures used to support numerical thinking can simulate prior concrete experiences. 114 children aged 6-9 years explained a numerical relationship (additive composition) three times consecutively. All children explained without materials for the 1st and 3rd explanation. For the 2nd explanation, children were randomly assigned to one of three conditions to use: physical objects; a number line; or no materials (control condition) to explain their thinking. Findings showed how using physical objects significantly influenced the particular types of gestures (e.g. splitting), hand morphology (e.g. pinching), and words (e.g. "take", "big") that children used in subsequent explanations without materials. Similar (although less pronounced) priming effects were found for the number line condition. The study provides support for conceptual metaphor theory (used to categorize gestures and language), and the potential for gesture research to address long-standing questions concerning the role of concrete materials in learning.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication12th International Conference of the Learning Sciences, ICLS 2016
Subtitle of host publicationTransforming Learning, Empowering Learners, Proceedings
PublisherInternational Society of the Learning Sciences (ISLS)
Pages378-385
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)978-0-9903550-8-3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016
Event12th International Conference of the Learning Sciences: Transforming Learning, Empowering Learners, ICLS 2016 - Singapore, Singapore
Duration: 20 Jun 201624 Jun 2016

Publication series

Name
PublisherInternational Society of the Learning Sciences
Volume2
ISSN (Print)1814-9316

Conference

Conference12th International Conference of the Learning Sciences: Transforming Learning, Empowering Learners, ICLS 2016
CountrySingapore
CitySingapore
Period20/06/1624/06/16

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