Education.com

# Mathematics Development (page 4)

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

### Object Permanence

Babies can discover the important concept of object permanence in a simple game of peek-a-boo. For very young babies, this is a fun game because it elicits an element of surprise when someone appears and then disappears. Learning that the person or object does not actually disappear is a major accomplishment for a little one. Such a discovery is important for the mathematics concepts that will follow. Once babies know, by about 9 months of age (Piaget, 1963), that something is still there even when it is hidden, they will begin to be more observant and notice similarities and differences among the objects themselves. Such observations and experiences of objects lead to sorting and classifying. Piaget explains that knowledge arises neither from objects nor the child, but from interactions between the child and those objects.

### Sorting

Sorting occurs when things with like attributes are grouped together. As Poole (1998) reports, if you give an 18-month-old five blocks and one ball, the child will handle and examine the ball (the different object) for a longer time than the blocks. This activity suggests that the child feels the difference between the blocks and the ball and wants to explore the different one longer to make sense of the difference. As such, the concept and process of sorting begins to be evident. When young children put the blocks in the block corner, the books on the book shelf, their socks in the big box, or the toy animals in the wooden barn, they are sorting.

Toddlers are likely to group similar objects together quite easily, whereas seriating or sequencing objects by a specific characteristic is more difficult. For example, if you give 4-year-olds a group of stuffed teddy bears and ask them to arrange them by size, they will focus on the big bears and the little bears without considering the seriation or the ordering by size.

### Comparing

When toddlers sort items and put them into two groups, such as the big teddy bears and the little teddy bears, they are demonstrating the concept of comparing. In comparing, children identify and examine specific properties of different objects or ideas and then make judgments about how they are similar and how they are different. Comparing causes a person to look at details and specifics instead of generalities, to observe and study more carefully. Noting that some things are big and some things are little requires a judgment about attributes or qualities of things.

Having children make comparisons is valuable because it requires them to actively make observations related to specific items. They must look for divergent ideas, to go beyond the obvious. Beginning activities that involve comparing tend to be of objects common to the children’s environment. They can compare cars and trucks, dogs and cats, apples and oranges, or cookies and crackers. These activities are important for children in that they promote the use of the five senses.

After a child has developed and used the skill of comparing concrete objects, teachers can extend this to comparing ideas. Children can compare sunrises and sunsets, seasons, a pumpkin and an apple, a carrot and cucumber, story lines from Eric Carle books, or songs and poetry. Charting their ideas about the similarities and differences of two things or events is helpful in developing expressive language.

150 Characters allowed

### Related Questions

#### Q:

See More Questions

### Today on Education.com

#### WORKBOOKS

May Workbooks are Here!

#### ACTIVITIES

Get Outside! 10 Playful Activities