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Unformatted text preview: t represent (Furth, 1981). Repre
senting is an action, and people can represent objects and ideas, but objects,
pictures, and words cannot. As indicated in Figure 2.1 with three arrows labeled
“Comprehends,” children understand symbols and signs by assimilating them
to their idea at their respective levels of abstraction. In other words, children
represent meanings to themselves when they see or hear a symbol or sign. An
example was seen in Chapter 1 in connection with the class-inclusion question,
“Are there more dogs or more animals?” Children at a low level of abstraction
“hear” a very different question from that which the adult meant.
When adults look at a long base-10 block, for example, they can represent
“one ten” and “ten ones” simultaneously to themselves. Adults can do this rep
resenting because they are already at a high level of abstraction. Young children,
who can think only successively about “one ten” and “ten ones,” cannot put the
same meaning adults can into a long base-10 block.
There is a world of difference between being able to think only successively
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- Spring '14