Probabilities and preschoolers: do tangible vs virtual manipulatives, sample space and repetition matter?

Nikiforidou, Zoi (2019) Probabilities and preschoolers: do tangible vs virtual manipulatives, sample space and repetition matter? Early Childhood Education Journal. ISSN 1082-3301 (Accepted for Publication)

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Probabilities tend to become an integral part of early childhood mathematics curricula. Research has shown that at the age of 4, children indicate basics of probabilistic reasoning and can engage with probabilistic tasks and uncertainty. The aim of this study is to examine whether methodological and design alterations influence children’s inferences of the most probable event. Children (N = 480), aged 4–6 years, participated in choice tasks involving probabilistic predictions after repeated random draws, in groups of 3. Participation was either through the interaction with tangible manipulatives (Condition 1) or through computer-based manipulatives (Condition 2). During participation, children recorded their initial predictions and the actual outcomes on specially designed sheets and each task was repeated three times. Findings imply that preschoolers appreciate what is more probable and show a significantly better understanding of the likelihood of events when interacting with tangible rather than computer-based manipulatives and when the sample space is simpler (p < .01); thus, repetition was not found to be significant. Such results are important when designing and embedding basic probabilistic notions in the early childhood classroom, aiming at promoting children’s probability literacy.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article which will be published by Springer in Early Childhood Education Journal on [date of publication when published]. The final publication will be vailable at
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Education > Early Childhood
Depositing User: Zoi Nikiforidou
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2019 08:33
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2019 08:33

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