Examining Kindergartners’ Play with MANIPULATIVES for Instances of Possible Mathematics Instruction

    A dissertation submitted to

    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

    In fulfillment of the requirements

    For the degree

    Doctor of Education

    Graduate Program in Early Childhood/Elementary Education


                This paper reports the findings of a qualitative case study of the play behaviors of five kindergarten students as they interact with pattern blocks and each other. Analysis of the data record which included field notes, observations, and interviews revealed that the pattern block play produced many rich and varied social and mathematical situations. From these findings, this paper suggests five strategies a teacher could employ to scaffold the academic content of children’s play. Primarily, a teacher should allow access to appropriate materials and provide time for socialization surrounding these materials. Furthermore, a teacher should involve him or herself in the children’s play as well as act as a facilitator of the play by offering clarification, asking questions, and posing challenges.


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