Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Search our Site:

Children find their own way to solve arithmetic problems

09.11.2010
Children with learning difficulties can benefit from being encouraged to find their own way to solve arithmetic problems, according to new research from Strathclyde.

A study by Dr Lio Moscardini, in Strathclyde's Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, found that children deal better with arithmetical problems if they can use their own intuitive strategies such as using number blocks, drawings or breaking an equation up into smaller, simpler parts- rather than being instructed in arithmetical facts and procedures.

All the teachers taking part in the study underwent professional development in children’s mathematical thinking before introducing these ideas into their classrooms. Nearly all felt that their pupils had benefited from learning in this way- and several said they had previously underestimated the children's ability and potential.

Dr Moscardini, a specialist in additional support needs, said: “We found that pupils with learning difficulties were able to develop an understanding of arithmetic through engaging in these activities, without explicit prior instruction.

“When teachers have an insight into children’s mathematical thinking they can use this knowledge to inform their teaching. The study also supported the view that maths learning isn’t just about acquiring a series of skills but is about making sense of problems and building understanding.”

The children’s solutions, which they had not been taught in advance, included:

Answering a question about how many children are on a bus after a group gets on by representing two sets of children with cubes, drawings or fingers and joining the sets together

Splitting up the sum 48 + 25 by adding 40 to 20, then adding eight and five separately for the total of 73

Using context and language and modifying the way a problem is phrased. In one question, a boy having 14 stickers and giving six away was changed to him giving away "six of his stickers," allowing a pupil to follow the language of the problem to make sense of it

Some children were able to help out their fellow pupils and became increasingly able to recognise similarities between certain types of problem, enabling them to apply the same solutions.

The children were found to follow the same path in understanding adding, subtraction, multiplication and division as those who did not have the same difficulties.

The research paper, I Like It Instead of Maths, has been published in the British Journal of Special Education ,Volume 37, Issue 3, pages 130–138 (DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8578.2010.00461.x)

Further information:
http://www.strath.ac.uk

Further reports about: Children Strathclyde arithmetic problems arithmetical facts

More articles from Health and Medicine:

Usher syndrome: Gene therapy restores hearing and balance
25.09.2017 | Institut Pasteur

MRI contrast agent locates and distinguishes aggressive from slow-growing breast cancer
25.09.2017 | Case Western Reserve University

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige