What Lies beneath? the conceptual connectivity underpinning whole number arithmetic

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Mulligan, J & Woolcott, G 2015, 'What Lies beneath? the conceptual connectivity underpinning whole number arithmetic', in X Sun, B Kaur & J Novotná (eds), Conference Proceedings of ICM Study 23: Primary Mathematics Study on Whole Numbers, Macau, China, 3-7 June,University of Macau, China, pp. 220-228. ISBN: 9789996510663

Available open access


Whole number arithmetic (WNA) is considered central to mathematics in the modern industrialised world. New developments in the cognitive and neurocognitive sciences, however, propose that WNA should be viewed in relation to the domain of mathematics more broadly and the real world interactions from which mathematics have developed. This may require mathematics to be conceptualised as a coherent domain that develops from human interaction, and that is reliant on spatial negotiation of one’s environment. A lens on conceptual connectivity integral to an awareness of spatial pattern and structure, therefore, may offer a more complete picture of the connectivity that underlies WNA. A stronger focus on ‘non-numerosity’ attributes of mathematics learning and how they underpin WNA and mathematics more generally is proposed.