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Marvelous MindsThe discovery of what children know$
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Michael Siegal

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199582884

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199582884.001.0001

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Number and arithmetic

Number and arithmetic

(p.117) Chapter 6 Number and arithmetic
Marvelous Minds

Michael Siegal

Oxford University Press

To characterize and act upon the world of objects, children in every culture count. Counting is as natural as walking and talking – an adaptive specialization for numerical problem solving. But are children's number abilities tied to understanding the meaning of the words that we use for counting? This chapter examines related issues: whether children's early theory of number is limited to the discrete whole numbers that are used for counting or whether they are prompted to accommodate their theory to take into account numerical relations which fill the gap between integers. It also examines children in aboriginal cultures, such as those found in Brazil and Australia, who acquire a language with few words for counting, taking into account their mathematical reasoning.

Keywords:   counting, numerical problem solving, children's number abilities, numerical relations, aboriginal cultures, mathematical reasoning

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