Developing measurement concepts within context: Children’s representations of length
 Amy MacDonald,
 Tom Lowrie
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Abstract
This article presents data gathered from an investigation which focused on the experiences children have with measurement in the early years of schooling. The focus of this article is children’s understandings of length at this early stage. 32 children aged 4–6 years at an Australian primary school were asked to draw a ruler and describe their drawing, once in February at the beginning of school, and again in November towards the end of their first year of school. The drawings and their accompanying descriptions are classified within a matrix which, informed by Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory and literature regarding the development of length concepts, considers conceptual understanding and contextual richness. The responses revealed that children have a good understanding of length at the start of school, but that as their ability to contextualise develops so too does their conceptual understanding. This article suggests that participation in tasks such as these allows children to create their own understandings of length in meaningful ways. Additionally, the task and its matrix of analysis provide an assessment strategy for identifying children’s understandings about length and the contexts in which these understandings develop.
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 Title
 Developing measurement concepts within context: Children’s representations of length
 Journal

Mathematics Education Research Journal
Volume 23, Issue 1 , pp 2742
 Cover Date
 20110301
 DOI
 10.1007/s1339401100027
 Print ISSN
 10332170
 Online ISSN
 2211050X
 Publisher
 Springer Netherlands
 Additional Links
 Topics
 Keywords

 Young children
 Measurement
 Representations
 Context
 Authors

 Amy MacDonald ^{(1)}
 Tom Lowrie ^{(2)}
 Author Affiliations

 1. Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education (RIPPLE), Charles Sturt University, P.O. Box 789, Albury, NSW, 2640, Australia
 2. Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education (RIPPLE), Charles Sturt University, Locked Bag 588, Wagga Wagga, NSW, 2678, Australia