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at different levels of abstraction. The children were asked to represent on paper
groups of objects that were in front of them.
Sinclair, Siegrist, and Sinclair (1983) individually interviewed 4-, 5-, and
6-year-olds in a kindergarten and day-care center in Geneva, Switzerland, where
no formal academic instruction had been given. There were 15 children in each
age group, making a total of 45. The interviewers used up to 8 identical objects
such as pencils, small rubber balls, and toy cars.
Presenting the child with 3 small rubber balls, for example, as well as a pencil
and paper, the interviewer asked, “Could you put down what is on the table?”
This request was carefully worded to avoid using terms such as “how many” and
“number” that would have suggested quantification. After giving several similar
items (2 balls and 5 houses, for example), the researchers asked the child, “Could
you write ‘three’ [then ‘four,’ ‘four houses,’ and so on]?” The purpose of this
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This document was uploaded on 03/13/2014.
- Spring '14