Reconfiguring mathematical settings and activity through multi-party, whole-body collaboration

Molly L. Kelton, Jasmine Y. Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines the consequences of whole-body, multi-party activity for mathematics learning, both in and out of the classroom. We develop a theoretical framework that brings together contemporary theories related to social space, embodied cognition, and mathematical activity. Then, drawing on micro-ethnographic and case-comparative techniques, we examine and juxtapose two cases of implementing whole-body, collaborative movement to engage learners in the mathematics of number sense and ratio and proportion. Analytically foregrounding the interdependence among setting, embodied activity, and mathematical tools and practices, we illustrate how whole-body collaboration can transform how learners experience learning environments and make sense of important mathematical ideas. The analysis enriches our understanding of the changing spatial landscapes for learning and doing mathematics as well as how re-instating bodies in mathematics education can open up new forms of collective mathematical sense-making and activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-196
Number of pages20
JournalEducational Studies in Mathematics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018


  • Body
  • Collaboration
  • Interaction
  • Materiality
  • Space

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Mathematics
  • Education


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