Exploring the use of concrete objects in lower primary mathematics: a case study of one public primary school in Uganda

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Veronica Sarungi

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Nipael Mrutu


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


An approach to learning which involves play-based activities of manipulating concrete objects can provide concrete operational and sensory learning experiences for the needs of the individual learners. To make learning of mathematics interesting and effective, teachers have to engage learners in using learning aids. This qualitative case study, therefore, explored the use of concrete objects in lower primary mathematics a case study of one public primary school in Uganda. The participants of the study were three lower primary mathematics teachers and the head teacher of the school. Data was collected using interview, class observation and document analysis. Descriptive and verbatim quotations were used for the data analysis. Findings from the study suggest that concrete objects were perceived as real materials that are tangible and visual used for mathematical concept building. The study also revealed that teachers’ saw the significance of the use of concrete objects as promoting interest, life skills and values and as well for learner engagement in activities. It was further revealed that teachers mostly use locally sourced concrete objects during mathematics activities. However, contextual challenges of large class size, overwhelming workload and teacher attitude tend to hamper the effective use of concrete objects in mathematics lessons. This study therefore recommends that, teachers should select and use appropriate concrete objects for hands-on-activities with the teacher’s guidance. Head teachers, Coordinating Centre Tutors (CCTs) and quality assurance officers should regularly conduct clinical support supervision of lower primary classroom with the aim of providing the teachers support in the area of selection and use of learning resources. Core-PTCs should plan for and implement regular CPDs especially for early years’ teachers in this area. Contextual factors like large class size and overwhelming work load on the teachers’ needs to be addressed for effective use of the concrete objects by the teachers. Additionally, it is important that the desire of the teachers for continuous professional development to be considered in order to enhance their performance.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library