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Caribbean Journal of Education

Children’s Learning of Geometry: Report of a Co-operative Research Project

Publication Date: 
April 1983

Twenty third-year students from two rural teachers’ colleges in Jamaica carried out a co-ordinated set of individual investigations into children’s learning of geometrical concepts during their assignment to schools as intern teachers. All the studies, which covered classes from Grade 2 to Grade 10, included some initial testing of children’s knowledge of a selected topic, the teaching of an experimental unit on that topic, and a post-test to measure what had been learnt; several investigators also interviewed other teachers on their attitudes towards geometry teaching.
This report includes abstracts of each teaching study and summarises the results in terms of children’s present knowledge of geometry; their ability and motivation to learn geometry; some linguistic, logical and spatial difficulties they may experience; problems which the teacher has to face in organising concrete activities; and some possibilities for integrating geometry with arithmetic and other school subjects. A final section summarises the findings of the teacher interviews. The general conclusion from the twenty studies is that younger children know very little about geometry and older children find the learning of geometry very difficult largely because very little geometry is taught in primary schools; but it is possible to teach geometry in a concrete, exploratory mode which can lead, despite initial difficulties, to enjoyable creative activities, gains in social co-operation, and considerable learning.

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