Framing Mathematics Teaching with Narratives: The Ambiguity of Goldilocks

  • Hanna PalmérEmail author
  • Camilla Björklund


In preschool, narratives are often used in teaching, both to make the learning content interesting and appealing and to frame the content intended for the children to learn. In this chapter, the children’s story “Goldilocks” is used as an example of the complexity in framing mathematics teaching with narratives. Two empirical examples are used to illustrate this complexity and to reinforce the focus of the chapter—a content analysis of the Goldilocks story. The story is analysed based on what mathematical content is brought to the fore (and thus what may be picked up as potential learning objects), and more specifically what challenges for learning the mathematical concepts the story entails. The analysis shows that the mathematical content in the story entails a complexity that may hinder the emergence of mathematical learning objects if the story is played out true to its original form. A conclusion based on the content analysis and reinforced by the empirical examples is that unless a preschool teacher has an advanced understanding of the mathematical concepts in question, the story makes it difficult to frame children’s concept exploration in profitable ways. Thus, the narrative of Goldilocks is not an easy story to base mathematics teaching on.


Goldilocks Mathematical concepts Narrative Play Series Variation theory of learning 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Linnaeus UniversityVäxjöSweden
  2. 2.University of GothenburgGothenburgSweden

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