An increasing body of work provides evidence of the importance of bodily experience for cognition and the learning of mathematics. Sensor-based technologies have potential for guiding sensori-motor engagement with challenging mathematical ideas in new ways. Yet, designing environments that promote an appropriate sensori-motoric interaction that effectively supports salient foundations of mathematical concepts is challenging and requires understanding of opportunities and challenges that bodily interaction offers. This study aimed to better understand how young children can, and do, use their bodies to explore geometrical concepts of angle and shape, and what contribution the different sensori-motor experiences make to the comprehension of mathematical ideas. Twenty-nine students aged 6–10 years participated in an exploratory study, with paired and group activities designed to elicit intuitive bodily enactment of angles and shape. Our analysis, focusing on moment-by-moment bodily interactions, attended to gesture, action, facial expression, body posture and talk, illustrated the ‘realms of possibilities’ of bodily interaction, and highlighted challenges around ‘felt’ experience and egocentric vs. allocentric perception of the body during collaborative bodily enactment. These findings inform digital designs for sensory interaction to foreground salient geometric features and effectively support relevant forms of enactment to enhance the learning experience, supporting challenging aspects of interaction and exploiting the opportunities of the body.
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