Dinosaurs and Arithmetic!

Pauline Smith WeinsteinIs an assistant professor of mathematics education at the University of British Columbiawhere she teaches mathematics and methods courses to future elementary school teachers.

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Children in a grade one classroom sat with eyes wide open, mouths agape, as the teacher related a story concerning dinosaurs, those “terrible lizards” who lived on earth about two hundred million years ago. The very physique of the dinosaur, its shape, strength, and enormous size captured the imagination of the children. They wanted to learn more about these reptiles. Many children were motivated to read about these creatures, so books specifically designed for their reading level were made available. Some children were fascinated by the names of the different dinosaurs—Brontosaurus, Camptosaurus, Stegosaurus, Allosaurus, Triceratops, among others. The words had an interesting ring to their ears. Each child also seemed to favor one type of dinosaur over the others.


Pauline Smith main research interests are concerned with problems related to reading and arithmetic in curricular materials as well as foundations of mathematics education.

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