Contextual Images in Mathematics Problem Solving
Ron Zambo, Arizona State University West
Debby Zambo, Arizona State University West
Solving wordproblems is a difficult task for many students. Understanding,
the first step to solving a problem (Polya, 1945; Kintsch & Greeno, 1983),
requires the activation of three schemata; the language, the contextual, and
the mathematical. Students who are unable to construct a contextual understanding
of a problem situation are limited in their understanding of the problem
(Brown & Wheatley, 1997). This study investigated the effects of providing a dual
system of contextual information, the words of the problem coupled with an image
to activate the contextual schema, on the mathematical problem solving of 5th and
6th grade students. MANOVA indicated that the presentation of the contextual
images had no effect on problem solving performance. An analysis of student work
indicated that many students chose a correct strategy to solve a given problem.
However, their application of the strategy (for example an algorithm) was incorrect
or incomplete.
Academic Exchange Quarterly Summer 2004 Volume 8, Issue 2
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