, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 465–481 | Cite as

The act and artifact of drawing(s): observing geometric thinking with, in, and through children’s drawings

Original Article


In mathematics education, as in other domains, drawing serves as means to access, assess, and attend to children’s understanding. While theoretical accounts of drawings are often based on developmental stage theories, we examine insights gained by considering children’s geometric thinking and reasoning from embodied cognitive perspectives. We ask, what if the act of drawing serves as a means by which children become aware of geometric concepts and relationships, rather than being viewed as a product of that awareness? In this paper, we examine three vignettes and inquire into the ways that children come to draw in geometric contexts. We suggest that the children’s choice to draw as a mode of thinking, the different ways they draw, the manners in which they attend to the mathematics as they draw, and the conceptions that arise with their drawings, contribute in significant ways to their geometric understanding.


Small Triangle Drawing Task Number Pattern Spatial Awareness Pyramid Base 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research was supported, in part, by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. We thank the teachers, students, S. E. B. Pirie, W.-M. Roth, J.-F. Maheux, and the assistants who contributed to the research.


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Copyright information

© FIZ Karlsruhe 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of VictoriaVictoriaCanada
  2. 2.University of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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