Date of Award


Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Education (Honours) BEd (Hons)





First Advisor

Dr Lynden Rogers

Second Advisor

Anton Selvaratnam


130105 Primary Education (excl. Maori)


Primary school students understand complex ideas on the basis of simpler concepts derived from practical experience. The usefulness of manipulatives (physical objects which may be safely handled) in the primary maths classroom has been frequently asserted. However, little has been reported concerning their use in Stage 2 geometry. The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of two different types of manipulatives, bendable and rigid, as aids for the conceptualisation of 3-D solids from 2-D nets (flat fold-outs of solid geometrical shapes) within the NSW Stage 2 Mathematics curriculum. Even though a lot of research has been performed on the use of manipulatives in the mathematics classroom, very few studies have been performed specifically relating to their use in the topic of 3-D space. Contrary to initial expectations, the bendable nets, although more attractive to pupils, did not prove superior to the rigid variety. By far the most significant advances in conceptualisation followed teaching experiences using the rigid nets. It is suggested that this may demonstrate that the greater mental engagement required to visualise 3-D solids from rigid nets may promote greater advances in conceptualisation. This research supports the idea that use of a range of tactile experiences in the mathematics classroom not only diversifies assimilation pathways, but makes learning more enjoyable. They may even increase motivation to learn on the part of the student.


Used by permission: the author.

A print copy of this thesis is held in the Avondale College Library (SC Theses 372.7 Sc8).