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Children's Mathematical Graphics

    © Copyright M. Worthington & E. Carruthers 2012

‘Mark making’

‘Mark making’ is increasingly used as a generic term to describe the ways in which children ’create and experiment with symbols and marks’ for both drawing and writing (e.g. DfES, 2007: 64).

However, there is considerable confusion about the meaning of this often undefined term. Our concern is that the term ‘mark-making’ lacks clarity and fails to do justice to young children’s powerful thinking and the ways in which children choose to explore and communicate their mathematical thinking. We are not alone in raising concern about the term ‘mark making’ and in early childhood research the term ‘graphics’ and ‘graphicacy’ are gaining ground (e.g. Anning, 2003. 2004). We use the term ‘graphics’ rather than ‘mark making’ and for these reasons originated the term children’s mathematical graphics.

Official publications:
Referring to our research the term children’s mathematical graphics is used in the following publications for teachers and practitioners:

  • the ‘Williams Maths Review’ (DCSF, 2008);
  • Mark Making Matters (DCSF, 2008);
  • Children Thinking Mathematically (DCSF, 2009).

Practical mathematics

Challenges for children


The Williams Maths Review: Mathematical Mark-Making (DSCF 2008)

'Mark Making Matters' (DCSF, 2008)


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