Young children's representations and strategies for addition

Gillian M. Boulton‐Lewis, Kathleen Tait

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


This is a report of a study of the representations and strategies for addition, used by a sample of 55 children in years 1,2 and 3 in three schools in Brisbane. Children were presented with operations represented in symbols and asked to choose how to solve the task and explain their procedures as they worked. The teachers were interviewed to determine the representations that they were introducing. The results show a general developmental sequence from use of objects, to use of counting, to mental calculations using knowledge of number facts and place value. The results are discussed from the perspective of the demand that the procedures might make on children's information processing capacity. We suggest that some of the difficulties occur because teachers introduce procedures that are recommended in curriculum documents without being aware of the cognitive load that they impose. 1994 The British Psychological Society

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-242
Number of pages12
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1994


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