Evaluation of Three Interventions Teaching Area Measurement as Spatial Structuring to Young Children

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Area, Early childhood, Learning trajectories, Mathematics education, Measurement, Primary, Spatial structuring

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Morgridge College of Education, Teaching and Learning Sciences, Curriculum and Instruction


We evaluated the effects of three instructional interventions designed to support young children’s understanding of area measurement as a structuring process. Replicating microgenetic procedures we used in previous research with older children to ascertain whether we can build these competencies earlier, we also extended the previous focus on correctness to include analyses of children’s use of procedural and conceptual knowledge and examined individual differences in strategy shifts before and after transitions, enabling a more detailed examination of the hypothesized necessity of development through each level of a learning trajectory. The two experimental interventions focused on a dynamic conception of area measurement while also emphasizing unit concepts, such as unit identification, iteration, and composition. The findings confirm and extend earlier results that seeing a complete record of the structure of the 2D array—in the form of a drawing of organized rows and columns—supported children’s spatial structuring and performance.

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