The influences of gender and task format on children’s collaborative activity with blocks were examined. Forty eight (24 same-gender dyads of preschoolers half of whom were girls) played with blocks under either a divergent or a convergent format. Children attended a community based child care center in an urban area and were predominantly Latino and African-American. Level of social interaction was measured by the amount of time the pair of children spent in interaction. The complexity of the block product was measured by: (1) the number of blocks included in the building (quantitative complexity); and (2) quality of structural organization as determined by the spatial and geometric architectural features (spatial and geometric complexity). Results showed effects for both gender and task format. Dyads in the convergent condition interacted more often. Analyses of the block structures showed that boys used more blocks in the convergent format while girls used more blocks in the divergent format. Girl pairs built more architecturally complex structures than boy pairs. These results show an important task format by gender interaction. Implications for early learning in math are discussed.
Eberly, J.L. and Golbeck, S.L. (2004), "BLOCKS, BUILDING AND MATHEMATICS: INFLUENCES OF TASK FORMAT AND GENDER OF PLAY PARTNERS AMONG PRESCHOOLERS", Reifel, S. and Brown, M. (Ed.) Social Contexts of Early Education, and Reconceptualizing Play (II) (Advances in Early Education and Day Care, Vol. 13), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 39-54. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0270-4021(04)13002-4
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