Young Children's Representations of Groups of Objects: The Relationship Between Abstraction and Representation
Yasuhiko Kato, Constance Kamii, Kyoko Ozaki, Mariko Nagahiro
January 2002, Volume 33, Issue 1, Page 30
Sixty Japanese children between the ages of 3 years 4 months and 7 years 5 months were individually interviewed to investigate the relationship between their levels of abstraction (as assessed by a task involving conservation of number) and their levels of representation (as assessed by a task asking for their graphic representation of small groups of objects). The investigation concluded that abstraction and representation are closely related and that children can represent at or below their level of abstraction but not above this level. The educational implication is that educators need to focus more on the mental relationships children make (i.e., their abstraction) because the meaning children can give to conventional symbols depends on their level of abstraction.
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