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Investigaiting the aquisition of numerical ability

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Investigating the acquisition of numerical ability. 'Mathematics is a powerful tool which has its application rooted in the use of mathematical models and symbols to represent and find solutions to problems which occur in everyday life.' (Edwards 1998) Mathematics is also considered to be a very difficult subject to learn because some elements are very abstract. For young children, learning is about developing a sense of meaning and understanding of the world around them. Mathematical learning occurs when children interact with others, through the active exploration of 'concrete' objects and materials (sand and water) within playful situations in a variety of contexts. Young children initially learn through watching, imitating actions and handling objects and exploring space around them. It is through these interactive playful situations and social interactions that children develop a love for learning which is vital in the early years to develop confidence to explore new experiences. Young children characteristically have a natural curiosity for learning and respond with enthusiasm to stimulating, challenging and exciting interactive playful experiences. Therefore as a practitioner free play activities should be provided along with a carefully structured, activity based curriculum, within a well-resourced environment with adult involvement and play opportunities for children to learn. ...read more.

Middle

Activities to stimulate epistemic behaviours were a major focus during my teaching experience. Developing mathematics in reception class involved a mental starter, which included learning new number songs/rhymes and teacher directed interactive exposition of new concepts. 'Number rhymes and action songs help children to become familiar with the number names.' (Hopkins 1996) Rhymes can be used to link written numbers and can be adapted to provide extra challenges. Provision activities are available for children to experience free-play problem solving, investigating numbers, shapes, materials or books. The mathematic focus during phase two has been the teaching of number. 'The primary number curriculum can be seen as a cycle of learning about the number system whilst using and applying that knowledge.' (Hopkins 1996) Children in the early years count and begin to use and apply their counting with simple calculations through interactive activities such as number rhymes, number cards and lines and practical counting games. The task involved the children selecting a number card from the number line 1-20, identifying the written number and making a tower of cubes to match that number. Recognise and use numerals 1 to 9 extending to 0 to 10, then beyond 10 (NNS 9-10 1999). ...read more.

Conclusion

She needs encouragement with ludic behaviours to rehearse the skills acquired and help develop number writing and recording exercises to practise arithmetical skills and reinforce understanding of number, and at the same time continue to take part in epistemic experiences to apply new learning and to gain mastery of learned skills. Assessment is vital to identify the level a child is at, to see what difficulties they are experiencing, to correct any misconceptions and to plan appropriate levels of work for them to complete. The information I discovered throughout my continuous assessments provided me with evidence to plan tasks to suit the needs of the children in order to develop their mathematical knowledge and skills. The process of assessment is necessary in order for children to develop in all areas of learning and will provide a true picture of children's strengths and weakness allowing room for development and progress. Assessment provides information to allow teachers to plan tasks for children at each end of the spectrum making decisions about curriculum planning and implementation. The classroom environment, organisation and management should support assessment opportunities and assessment should be an integral part of teaching and learning to receive the full benefits. Teachers must value assessment as a professional tool which enables 'the monitoring of children's progress and achievements to take place within the context of a fair, consistent and easily managed system. ...read more.

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