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Elapsed Time: Why is it So Difficult to Teach?

Constance Kamii and Kelly A. Russell
Journal for Research in Mathematics Education
Vol. 43, No. 3 (May 2012), pp. 296-315
DOI: 10.5951/jresematheduc.43.3.0296
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5951/jresematheduc.43.3.0296
Page Count: 20
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Elapsed Time: Why is it So Difficult to Teach?
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Abstract

Based on Piaget's theory of logico-mathematical knowledge, 126 students in grades 2–5 were asked 6 questions about elapsed time. The main reason found for difficulty with elapsed time is children's inability to coordinate hierarchical units (hours and minutes). The educational implications drawn are that students must be encouraged to think about durations in daily living and to do their own thinking rather than being taught procedures for producing correct answers to elapsed-time questions.

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