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# Mathematics Development (page 3)

By G.A. Davis|J.D. Keller
Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall

### Seriation

Seriation is a mathematics concept that involves organizing or ordering things in a logical way. Consider toys that can be manipulated, such as different-sized stacking rings or blocks. Early in the use of these types of toys, children do not attend to the seriated relationship, of which ring or block goes on first. Over a period of time, however, the child will try to put the largest item on the bottom, as the rings are seriated by size. Exploring and discovering this seriated set of rings is important for logical mathematical thinking. In addition, these types of investigations are interesting, engaging, and motivational.

Other types of seriated toys and tools include cookie cutters in different sizes and pie plates in varying diameters. These toys can be explored for seriation of their nesting attributes. Such explorations can prompt children to tell stories relating to the seriated sizes of the toys, with encouragement from teachers. For example, a young child playing at a play-doh center with a seriated set of bunny cookie-cutter shapes could be asked about the “baby bunny” and the “mommy bunny,” and eventually she might tell a story about them. Children’s self-directed play often develops and utilizes seriation skills. Seriation becomes more natural as children enter school as kindergarteners and continues to become more sophisticated through the primary grades.

### Spatial Relationships

Another important concept developed in mathematics is spatial relationships. The games and interactions that comprise play in infancy also help babies become aware of their body parts and develop a sense of their physical self. Such exploration helps them to know where they are in relation to their world. As toddlers become more skilled with moving about their world, a concept called navigation, they experience spatial relationships firsthand. They navigate themselves through a play tunnel or space fort, they begin to climb on play structures and equipment. These experiences will be the foundation for more mathematics concepts to follow involving directionality and position in space, such as the concepts of up, down, over, next to, under, above, beside, in between, first, and last.

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