Monday, May 25, 2009

Word Problem

I'm the mathematics coordinator of 3rd and 4th grades of my school in Chile. We are using the My Pals are Here Series. But I have a doubt, concerned to the fact that even though we are focused on solving word problems using the models methology and it makes sense to the girls when we are working together, they are still having problems when they are working alone, specially during tests. They start right away with operations but most of the time it is wrong, because they didn't visualize the entire problem. Do you have any suggestion? Should we continue with next chapter or work more on problem solving with additions and subtractions?

Question posted by Paula, a mathematics co-ordinator in Chile
As you have mentioned, when the students start straight away with the operations they are often wrong. They need to comprehend the problems well. Drawing a model will help them understand how the information are related. In simple one-step problem, it may not necessary to do so. But in a problem with a lot of information, this becomes essential for average students. Otherwise although they can read the word, they do not comprehend the information.

Also in multi-step problems, the students may not have the ability to monitor their thinking. This is metacognition. When we teach word problems, we should model and coach rather than explain. That way, we help them in developing the ability to think through the many steps in a problem.

No comments:

Post a Comment