COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL
There are five content standard domains in
mathematics: 1. number and operations
2. algebra
3. geometry
4. measurement
5. data analysis and probability
Although the focus in early childhood education
is on number and operations, geometry, and
measurement (National Council of Teachers of
Mathematics 2006), all five content standards
are interconnected and important for STEM
education. For young children, number and operations
includes
quantifying small amounts,
comparing sets of objects as more, less,
or equal,
counting,
ordering numbers (first, second, last,
and so on),
patterns. The language of math that permeates
math-rich classrooms helps children analyze
problem situations. An example of this might be
whether three friends can go to the gross-motor
room together when only two spaces are open on
the waiting list. The concrete materials that are
a mainstay in quality programs enable children
to represent mathematical problems in ways that
they can understand.
Geometry in the early years involves much
more than naming shapes. It also includes un-
derstanding spatial relationships, positional
statements, and the properties of two- and three-
dimensional objects. Through concrete experi-
ences with blocks and other materials, children
form the foundation for later, analytic processes
in geometry.
Measurement for young children includes
•• understanding the measurable attri-
butes of objects,
•• constructing the concept of an appro-
priate unit of measure,
combining sets (early addition)
•• the application of number to measure-
ment, and
taking away from sets (early subtrac-
tion), and
•• measurement comparisons.
dividing materials among friends (early
division). It involves understanding underlying relation-
ships, such as one-to-one correspondence (one
number word for each object counted) and cardi-
nality (the last number counted equals the total).
Much of the mathematical learning that occurs
through children’s play involves number and
operations. Algebra includes understanding patterns and
relationships, as well as analyzing, represent-
ing, and modeling mathematical situations. In
preschool and kindergarten, children construct
algebraic relationships by sorting and classify-
ing materials and eventually arranging them in
8 c ha p te r 1
Seriating, or ordering objects by size, is an aspect
of measurement frequently explored by young
children. Data analysis encompasses
•• gathering information,
•• organizing the information in a useful
way, and
•• asking and answering questions related
to it.
For young children, data come from their life ex-
periences. They may sort their toys into groups,
compare how many buttons are in two groups,
or vote for their favorite fruit. Preschool and kin-
dergarten teachers often help children organize
this information on a bar graph. The probability
COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL