• Abate Kenna

Student thesis: Phd


This qualitative case study is an investigation of how interactive mathematics games can support year six children to reach mathematical generalisations and then develop higher order thinking whilst playing games. To investigate this topic, first, the review of related literatures identifies the emerging knowledge of children’s mathematical generalisations and higher order thinking such as problem solving and the context in which children develop higher order thinking through playing games. Based on the review, most children are familiar with playing games, and they spend a significant amount of time playing. Contrary to this, research shows that some children have particularly negative feelings towards learning mathematics in school. So, the logic behind this thesis is that if children are familiar with and enjoy playing games and they spend a significant amount of time on them, then, why not use the media they are familiar with to teach children mathematics? After the overview of relevant literature, an explanation of methods used within the adopted methodology is explained. The analysis begins with identifying children’s experience of playing interactive games and their opinions about the games. Then, some children’s patterns of behaviour that might indicate the crucial moments showing how they developed higher order thinking - that is generalised problem solving strategies - and how became conscious of these is analysed, and this is followed by discussions of the results. The main contribution of this thesis to the field of Mathematics Education is to show how children’s action and verbal generalisations occurred whilst playing interactive mathematics games. Children’s persistent practice and improving their gaming performance was a necessary condition to them to produce ‘action’ generalisation, that is generalisation of a strategic action within the context of the game. Often communication of the action generalisation involved gesticulation and then, verbalisation in a way that introduced another, more advanced dimension of generality. These generalisations have some similarity and difference with findings of previous researches which are discussed. Other contributions are: to provide evidence of children’s problem solving strategies shifting from trial and error to systematic whilst playing the interactive mathematics games; to provide evidence of children’s opinions on the benefits and disadvantages of playing interactive games; and finally, to highlight the affordances of technology. Overall the contributions of this thesis, may lead to the prompting of educators to reconsider the role of interactive mathematics games within the school environment, whether this is during regular lesson time or an out of school club.
Date of Award1 Aug 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorJulian Williams (Supervisor) & Laura Black (Supervisor)


  • mathematics and technology
  • educational games
  • mathematical generalisation and higher order thinking
  • higher order thinking
  • *education
  • mathematics games
  • mathematics
  • interactive mathematics games
  • mathematical generalisation

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