The model method: Singapore children's tool for representing and solving algebraic word problems

Swee Fong NG, Kerry LEE

Research output: Contribution to journalArticles

59 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Solving arithmetic and algebraic word problems is a key component of the Singapore elementary mathematics curriculum. One heuristic taught, the model method, involves drawing a diagram to represent key information in the problem. We describe the model method and a three-phase theoretical framework supporting its use. We conducted 2 studies to examine teachers' perceptions and children's application of the model method. The subjects were 14 primary teachers from 4 schools and 151 Primary 5 children. The model method affords higher ability children without access to letter-symbolic algebra a means to represent and solve algebraic word problems. Partly correct solutions suggest that representation is not an all-or-nothing process in which model drawing is either completely correct or completely incorrect. Instead, an incorrect solution could be the consequence of misrepresentation of a single piece of information. Our findings offer avenues of support in word problem solving to children of average ability. Copyright © 2009 National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)282-313
JournalJournal for Research in Mathematics Education
Volume40
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Citation

Ng, S. F., & Lee, K. (2009). The model method: Singapore children's tool for representing and solving algebraic word problems. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 40(3), 282-313.

Keywords

  • Algebra
  • Elementary
  • K-8
  • Problem-solving
  • Representation
  • Modeling
  • Teaching practice

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