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Mind Brain and Education - 2023 - Foulkes.pdf (1.21 MB)

The effects of concreteness on mathematical manipulative choice

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posted on 2023-09-18, 11:34 authored by Megan FoulkesMegan Foulkes, Francesco SellaFrancesco Sella, Theresa Wege, Camilla GilmoreCamilla Gilmore

There is mixed evidence as to whether concrete manipulatives (e.g., toy animals) are better than abstract manipulatives (e.g., counters) for teaching mathematical concepts to children. Concreteness is defined as the amount of extraneous information a manipulative provides, and in this study we aimed to unpick which dimensions of concreteness influence manipulative choice. Researchers, teachers, and parents completed a comparative judgement task comparing images of manipulatives varying in different dimensions of concreteness, selecting which they would choose to teach arithmetic to children. The findings indicated homogeneous, 3-dimensional manipulatives were the most preferred across all groups to teach arithmetic to children, regardless of more extraneous features. This contradicts research recommendations to minimise the use of concrete manipulatives due to their distractive qualities. Instead, it suggests that some concrete features may be preferred in more naturalistic contexts. More research is required to investigate how different dimensions of concreteness influence learning outcomes for children both in artificial research contexts and in practice.

Funding

Studentship from the Economic Social Research Council (ESRC)

Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship

History

School

  • Science

Department

  • Mathematics Education Centre

Published in

Mind, Brain, and Education

Volume

17

Issue

3

Pages

185-196

Publisher

Wiley

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The Authors

Publisher statement

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Acceptance date

2023-06-15

Publication date

2023-07-09

Copyright date

2023

ISSN

1751-2271

eISSN

1751-228X

Language

  • en

Depositor

Prof Camilla Gilmore. Deposit date: 27 June 2023

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