In this paper I present an examination of three six year-old children’s interaction with a task intended toencourage reasoning and collaboration in number. A case is made for the importance of deductivereasoning in supporting inductive reasoning and for the potential of hypothetical deductive reasoning insupporting concept reification in early number. The children’s discourse is analysed using a frameworkbased on opinion/belief, plausibility and deductive reasoning schema in relation to the functional use ofactuality and modality linguistic terms. The analysis suggests that the children were able to transition todeductive reasoning and this was reflected in their discourse through a shift to modality, and that thisshift suggested a sense of authority by the children in validating their thinking.
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