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Developing Mathematical Processes Through Commercial Games
LEARNING THROUGH GAMES
Students can develop a meaningful understanding of mathematical ideas through games before they move toward abstractions (Dienes, 1971). Ernest (1986) identified three educational uses of games: gain skill-based fluency, develop conceptual understanding, and refine problem solving.
THEORY OF EXPERIENCE
Theoretically, the study is grounded in Dewey’s (1938/1997) notion of educative experiences through activity and reflection. Moreover, games provide opportunities for foundational experiences, as those (inter)actions and reflections that prepare students for more formalized learning in subsequent mathematics classes.
Rather than content as the unifying element in curriculum, Costa and Liebmann (1997) suggest processes could be the focus of students’ learning. Mathematical processes are ways in which students are active in doing mathematics. The provincial curriculum (Alberta Education, 2007/2015) identifies the following processes: communication, connections, mental mathematics and estimation, problem solving, reasoning, technology, and visualization. Opportunities for children to develop mathematical processes are imperative if these processes are to be used to understand specific mathematics content.
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