Helping children grasp math beyond counting
- April 1, 2013
- Barbara Sarnecka, cognitive sciences associate professor, is featured in the Orange County Register April 1, 2013
From the OC Register:
"This Week’s Expert” is a feature in which experts from UC Irvine will share their knowledge with Orange County on a variety of issues and topics ranging from local to international importance. To adults, cardinal number concepts — two, three, four, etc. — may seem easy for children to understand. But research in developmental psychology shows there is a long gap — often more than a year — from when children learn to count and when they understand the meanings of number words. While children begin learning to count — reciting a list of numbers and pointing to objects one at a time — between the ages of 18 months and 3 years, many 4- and 5-year-olds still don’t understand the meaning of the numbers. To them, counting is still like patty-cake: a little song you sing and a series of gestures you make with your hands, and maybe it has something to do with quantity. But the way counting relates to quantity is not yet clear to them. Many parents are unaware their children don’t understand numbers because they count well.
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