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Unformatted text preview: to think about them as symbols (see Figure 2.1). Like every other
symbol and sign, counters can be used at a high or low level of abstraction. Play
ing cards can be manipulated, too, but they involve symbols (such as 3 hearts)
and signs (such as the numeral “3”). Base10 blocks are believed to represent
“ones,” “tens,” and so on, but this belief is based on the erroneous assumption
that objects can represent ones, tens, and so on. The use of counters, playing
cards, and base10 blocks will now be discussed. Counters versus Fingers and Children’s Own Drawings
First graders can be given counters to solve the following problem: I have
4 little candles but need 7 for a birthday cake. How many more candles do I need
to get? Many children put out 4 counters, then 7, count some or all of them,
and give the answer of 7 or 11.
These are examples of the use of counters as symbols at a low level of ab
straction. If children can make a partwhole relationship in their minds, through
constructive abstraction, they answer “Three.” If they...
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This document was uploaded on 03/13/2014.
 Spring '14

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