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Much ado about nothing: understanding of the zero number of preschool children and the first graders

Eva Janečko (2019) Much ado about nothing: understanding of the zero number of preschool children and the first graders. Diploma thesis.

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    Number zero has a rich history. In the theoretical part I studied and presented the development of numbers and their usage in old civilizations, starting with symbolic writings on cave walls or animal bones and how younger civilizations abandoned those practices in favour of developing and using more optimal numeral systems. These made calculating with large numbers easier and paved the way to the kind of mathematics that we know today. Number zero played an important part in that process, because without it we couldn't write decimal numbers. We meet other concepts and meanings of zero on a daily basis. Because of the difficulty of understating various concepts related to number zero, a question arises, how do preschool children understand them? The main focus of this thesis was evaluating the understanding of the concept of number zero of preschool children, aged 5 and how their understanding evolves after they are familiarised with number zero through various activities and games. A comparison of the results between the experiment and control group of preschool children shows a noticeable increase in understanding and perception of number zero. The results of the experimental kindergarten group were almost the same in some parts of the test when comparing them to a group of first grade pupils. The average overall results of the test were: 85.5 % in the experimental group, 73.0 % and 87.7 % in the group of first grade pupils. The results show that preschool children aged five are already capable of basic understanding of what number zero means and that they can be further with number zero through various activities and games (role playing, counting on fingers, songs with subtraction, and games with numbers). These activities and games are therefore suitable and effective at teaching preschool children about number zero even before they enter primary school.

    Item Type: Thesis (Diploma thesis)
    Keywords: evolution of numbers, numeral systems, old civilisations, number zero, activities in preschool
    Number of Pages: 95
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    prof. dr. Tatjana HodnikMentor
    Link to COBISS: https://plus.si.cobiss.net/opac7/bib/peflj/12604233
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 5987
    Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2019 14:04
    Last Modified: 24 Sep 2019 14:04
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/5987

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