Making Choices and Explaining Them: An Experiment with Strategy Games in Kindergarten

  • Marina De SimoneEmail author
  • Cristina Sabena


We discuss how strategy games may be exploited to develop mathematical reasoning and argumentation competencies in kindergarten. According to a design-based methodology, 5-year-old children have been involved in a teaching experiment based on a game called “Thirteen buttons”. We have conducted a qualitative data analysis, based on video recording and integrating two theoretical frameworks: the game theory and the structure of attention frame. Results indicate that, through strategy games, children may experience different aspects of mathematical thinking, such as making choices and checking their consequences, identifying regularities and relationships, producing conjectures and explaining them. Results also point out the key role of the teacher in prompting children to develop these processes, and three different kinds of successful prompts are identified and described. In particular, this may be accomplished during the so-called reflective moments, when children may stop playing and dedicate time to reflect on the game situations, without being immersed in the playing action.


Strategy games Making choices Identifying regularities/relationships Making conjectures Argumentation Problem-solving Structure of attention 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  2. 2.University of TorinoTorinoItaly

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