Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Dissertation


Blocks (Toys) in mathematics education; Geometry concept; Academic theses;


This study addresses the curriculum issues of young children's geometric knowledge and how they can learn about geometry in early education. To investigate, I designed a pattern block frame activity that was the focus of a seven-week intervention with four-year-old children in a constructivist classroom. All children were considered at-risk for school failure. The investigation is rooted in my unsatisfying experiences with pattern blocks in my preschool classrooms.

Data were obtained from a pre and posttest assessment administered to ascertain the effects of the intervention on all children in the classroom and from observations of children's behavior as they engaged in the pattern block activity during the seven weeks after the pretest. Piaget's (1936/1952; 1937/1954; 1961/1969; 1975/1985; Piaget and Inhelder, 1948/1956) theory of knowledge or intelligence was the framework for the detailed qualitative analysis of one exemplar's progress during the intervention.

Results of both the pre and posttest and the microanalysis indicate children made significant progress in their construction of geometric knowledge. Children learned to match shapes with corresponding spaces, and distinguish among and coordinate the sizes of angles and spaces. I describe, with a series of detailed drawings, one exemplar's actions during the activity. I focus on his mental progress as he constructs the geometric knowledge necessary to successfully complete even the most difficult frames. I conclude with suggestions for further research and educational implications.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Rheta DeVries


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Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (350 pages)



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