Playful mathematics learning: Beyond early childhood and sugar-coating

Melissa Gresalfi, Ilana Horn, Lara Jasien, Panchompoo Wisittanawat, Jasmine Y. Ma, Sarah C. Radke, Victoria Guyevskey, Nathalie Sinclair, Anna Sfard

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


In this symposium, we ask what mathematical engagement looks like in the context of play, focusing on contexts designed to support mathematical thinking through open-ended activity, and looking at ages that are traditionally overlooked in studies of play. We heed Dewey’s admonition to look beyond sugar-coating: we do not seek to claim that “play is a good method for supporting traditional mathematics learning,” but rather, to explore the ways that mathematics is engaged through play, and how such different engagement with mathematics might transform students’ relationships with the domain. Taken as a collective, the papers in this symposium address this issue by looking across technical and physical contexts, using different lenses on play, and studying different experiences of play. Despite these contrasts, we jointly ask questions about what mathematics thinking and learning could look like if we changed the rules of the game.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1335-1342
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of International Conference of the Learning Sciences, ICLS
Issue number2018-June
StatePublished - 2018
Event13th International Conference of the Learning Sciences, ICLS 2018: Rethinking Learning in the Digital Age: Making the Learning Sciences Count - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 23 Jun 201827 Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:


  • Informal learning
  • Mathematics education
  • Play

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Education


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