Word problems: Can the model method help?

Swee Fong NG, Kerry LEE

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Primary children in Singapore are taught to use the model method to solve word problems. With the model method children are required to interpret information presented in three modes – text, structural and procedural. This paper discusses how 151 eleven year old primary children used the model method to help them solve a series of increasingly complex word problems. These children from five primary schools were asked to use the model method to solve word problems in a one-hour long pencil and paper mathematics test. Children’s responses to these items were analysed according to how they used the model method to solve word problems. The findings showed that those children who successfully used the model method to solve word problems had to be competent at five levels – reading, comprehending and transforming, processing and relating. Also these children carried out many mental processes which were not recorded. The paper concludes that the model method did help children solve word problems. Because of its very visual nature, models constructed by children provided evidence into the types of difficulties children had solving word problems. Therefore these models provide teachers with visual clues as to what are some of the conceptual difficulties faced by children in solving word problems and hence offer possibilities how to help children with such difficulties. Copyright © 2004 author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the international conference: The future of mathematics education
EditorsAlan ROGERSON
Place of PublicationPoland
PublisherThe Mathematics Education into the 21st Century Project
Pages104-108
ISBN (Print)8391946541
Publication statusPublished - 2004

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Singapore
primary school
mathematics
teacher
evidence

Bibliographical note

Fong, N. S., & Lee, K. (2004). Word problems: Can the model method help? In A. Rogerson (Ed.), Proceedings of the international conference: The future of mathematics education (pp. 104-108). Poland: The Mathematics Education into the 21st Century Project.