A study of the effectiveness of an instructional unit incorporating the use of the calculator on students' problem solving ability in working with routine word problems

Adams, Marion M. (1982) A study of the effectiveness of an instructional unit incorporating the use of the calculator on students' problem solving ability in working with routine word problems. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

The main purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of an instructional unit incorporating the use of the calculator on students I problem solving ability in working with routine word problems. More specifically, the instructional unit I s effect on the number of processes and key processes utilized, the number of correct solutions, and the number of computational errors made was investigated. -- The sample consisted of 10 students enrolled in a grade 10 mathematics course designed for low ability students. The textbook for this course was Consumer Related Mathematics. (Kravitz and Brant, 1971) -- A test consisting of 10 routine word problems was administered to each student individually as a pretest. Students were asked to verbalize their thoughts as they attempted to reach solutions to the problems, and the interviews were recorded on cassette tapes. Following the pretest the results of each student’s performance was coded using the coding sheet. -- A calculator orientation unit and an instructional unit were devised for use in the study. The primary purpose of the calculator-orientation unit was to instruct students on proper calculator usage and the calculator’s relationship to problem solving. A class set of calculators (Model TI-1035) was provided for each class period. The main purpose of the instructional unit was to teach students key processes to be used in problem solving, and how these processes could be applied to different types of problems. The emphasis when teaching the unit was on these key processes with particular attention given to those processes in which students exhibited weaknesses. The duration of the instructional period, including the calculator-orientation unit, was four weeks. Following the instructional unit, students were administered a parallel form of the pretest as a posttest. Students' performances were recorded individually on a cassette tape, and the results coded on the coding sheet. -- Significant gains were reported on a number of key processes utilized by students following instruction. Significant gains were also made in the number of correct solutions. Also, a significant decrease in the number of computational errors made was reported. -- An important observation made from the study was that allowing students to verbalize their thoughts while solving routine words problems provides a basis for instruction directed towards the specific weaknesses of the students involved. Recommendations were made that the study be replicated in other geographical areas, with larger samples and with students of differing abilities. Also the long-term effects of such units need to be investigated.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/10053
Item ID: 10053
Additional Information: Bibliography : leaves 49-52.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1982
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Calculators; Mathematics--Study and teaching--Aids and devices; Problem solving in children.

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