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Young children's ability to use the balance strategy to solve for unknowns

Warren, Elizabeth & Cooper, Thomas J. (2005) Young children's ability to use the balance strategy to solve for unknowns. Mathematics Education Research Journal, 17(1), pp. 58-72.

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Abstract

This article examines students' ability to use the balance model to solve for unknowns. A teaching experiment was conducted in four Year 3 classrooms. This experiment focused on exploring the application of the balance model as an analogue for representing equations and solving for unknowns. The teaching experiment promoted a shift by students towards viewing addition and subtraction equations in terms of equivalence, where the situation is viewed in a multi-directional way (i.e., balance). Initially the lessons were trialled by the researchers in two classrooms. The lessons were then implemented in a further two classrooms by two classroom teachers in conjunction with the researchers. Two weeks after the conclusion of the teaching experiment, a one-on-one interview was conducted with a random smaple comprising twenty students with an average age of eight years. The interviews indicated that while the balance model did assist students reach solutions for finding unknowns, for some students further explicit teaching was required.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 15698
Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: The contents of this journal can be freely accessed online via the journal's web page (see hypertext link).
Additional URLs:
Keywords: addition, computation, equations (mathematics), mathematical concepts, primary school students, problem solving, subtraction, educational experiments, interviews, primary education, Year 3
ISSN: 1033-2170
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Mathematics and Numeracy Curriculum and Pedagogy (130208)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > Schools > School of Curriculum
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2005 The Mathematics Education Research Group Of Australasia Incorporated (MERGA)
Deposited On: 24 Nov 2008
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2013 18:08

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