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Structuring versus counting: critical ways of using fingers in subtraction
Department of Education, Communication and Learning, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Department of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional studies, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Praktiknära utbildningsforskning (PUF), Mathematics Education Research. Wits School of Education, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7556-7974
2019 (English)In: ZDM - the International Journal on Mathematics Education, ISSN 1863-9690, E-ISSN 1863-9704, Vol. 51, no 1, p. 13-24Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The idea of using fingers as a key component in arithmetic development has received a great deal of support, much of which is based on neuroscientific evidence. However, this body of work pays limited attention to how fingers are used and possible different outcomes in arithmetic problem solving. The aim of our paper, based on an analysis of 126 observations of 4–5-year-olds solving a simple subtraction task, is to discuss different ways of using fingers, with some of the ways appearing more, and others less, powerful. The analysis suggests there is much more complexity to children’s finger-related strategies than prior research has indicated. Empirical findings in our study point to the decisive effects of different ways of using fingers, and in particular for either keeping track of counted units or for presenting a structured awareness of number. Three ways of using fingers emerge in the analysis, which are discussed in relation to their rate of success in solving the subtraction task and with attention to why the differences matter for the success rate. Through this discussion we suggest that the complexity of how fingers are used must be considered. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2019. Vol. 51, no 1, p. 13-24
Keywords [en]
Part-Whole relations, Preschool, Spontaneous finger use, Structuring numbers, Subtraction, Variation theory
National Category
Learning
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-42857DOI: 10.1007/s11858-018-0962-0ISI: 000463647400002Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85059835394Local ID: HOA HLK 2019OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-42857DiVA, id: diva2:1285577
Available from: 2019-02-04 Created: 2019-02-04 Last updated: 2019-05-08Bibliographically approved

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Runesson Kempe, Ulla

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