Connecting Whole Number Arithmetic Foundations to Other Parts of Mathematics: Structure and Structuring Activity

  • Hamsa VenkatEmail author
  • Sybilla BeckmannEmail author
  • Kerstin Larsson
  • Yan Ping Xin
  • Alessandro Ramploud
  • Limin Chen
Part of the New ICMI Study Series book series (NISS)


In this chapter, we attend to presentation/discussion of structure and structuring activities as two key routes through which whole number arithmetic can be connected to other mathematical content areas and to central mathematical processes and products like defining/definitions and generalizing/generalization. In the body of the chapter, we use literature to distinguish between approaches focused more on the presentation of structure and those oriented towards structuring activities, before presenting an overview and discussion of studies geared more towards one or other of these approaches. We incorporate studies that have been directed towards both students’ mathematical learning and mathematical (and pedagogical) teacher learning and conclude with commentary on biases towards structure-based or structuring activity-based approaches across these contexts. Our argument is that both approaches show promise for building towards stronger connections between whole number arithmetic and other mathematical areas, with a number of examples in each category included. Given the evidence of difficulties for so many children in many parts of the world in moving beyond the terrain of whole number, our findings suggest that attention to structure and structuring can provide important routes for bridging this chasm.

Supplementary material

Video 13.1

(M4V 56925 kb)


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa
  2. 2.University of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  3. 3.Stockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  4. 4.Purdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  5. 5.Scuola Primaria LeopardiReggio EmiliaItaly
  6. 6.Shenyang Normal UniversityShenyangChina

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