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    Copyright M. Worthington & E. Carruthers 2012

Children's mathematical graphics: beginnings in play
The development of written number and quantities

The stunning range of children's mathematical graphics and their ability to make meaning constantly surprises and delights us. It is important not to overlook these early marks since they form important stages in children's understanding of the written language of mathematics.
Range of Marks (Forms)
   
Development of Early 'Written' Calculations

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Exploration with marks
Matt – ‘I spell 80354’
3 yrs 1 month

Early written numerals
Molly - ‘Seven, six and number eight’ - 3 yrs 11 months

Numerals as labels – Nikita’s birthday card ‘I am three’
3 yrs 4 months

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Representing quantities that are not counted - Charlotte: ‘I’ve got hundreds and pounds!’ - 4 yrs 2 months
   
Representing quantities that are counted
Jenna ‘s ‘raindrops’- 3 yrs, 9 months
Development of written number:
Exploration with marks
- children of 3 and 4 years of age may begin to refer to their marks in terms of mathematical content
Early written numerals - children refer to some marks as numbers and begin to explore ways of writing numbers.Some write numbers in individual ways
Numerals as labels - when children use numerals for their own specific purposes, perhaps to label something
Representations of quantities that are not counted - showing 'lots' of something and having a sense of a large amount of something - but without representing a specific amount
Representing quantities that are counted - children begin to count the marks they have represented, and represent items they have already counted


   

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