, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 465–481

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

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11858-015-0697-0

Cite this article as:
Thom, J.S. & McGarvey, L.M. ZDM Mathematics Education (2015) 47: 465. doi:10.1007/s11858-015-0697-0


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.

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

    Copyright information

    © FIZ Karlsruhe 2015

    Authors and Affiliations

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

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