Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Children find their own way to solve arithmetic problems

Date:
November 9, 2010
Source:
University of Strathclyde
Summary:
Children with learning difficulties can benefit from being encouraged to find their own way to solve arithmetic problems, according to new research.

A study by Dr Lio Moscardini 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.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Strathclyde

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.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Strathclyde. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

1. Lio Moscardini. 'I like it instead of maths': how pupils with moderate learning difficulties in Scottish primary special schools intuitively solved mathematical word problems. British Journal of Special Education, 2010; 37 (3): 130 DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8578.2010.00461.x

University of Strathclyde. "Children find their own way to solve arithmetic problems." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 November 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101108140925.htm>.
University of Strathclyde. (2010, November 9). Children find their own way to solve arithmetic problems. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101108140925.htm
University of Strathclyde. "Children find their own way to solve arithmetic problems." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101108140925.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) — China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) — An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) — The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) — The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):

Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions

Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile

Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?

Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web