ERIC Number: ED348228
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
A Meaningless but Nonalgorithmic Solving Course: Solving a Graphing Problem about Osmosis by Analogy.
Zuckerman, June T.
Various researchers have associated meaningful problem solving with methods guided directly by a conceptual knowledge base. By contast, a meaningless solving course, or sequence of operations, is essentially independent of the solver's conceptual understanding of the problem under consideration. This paper is the first to document a meaningless, and nonalgorithmic, student solving course that generated a correct solution to an unfamiliar problem within the context of a secondary biology class. The study originally was designed to constrain the meaningful solutions of 14 outstanding science students to a graphing problem about osmosis. Each solver generated a think-aloud solution to the problem, a pencil-and-paper solution, and a retrospective report of the solution process. Data were utilized to assess whether the solving course was meaningful, the solution was correct, and the student indeed had no prior knowledge of the problem and/or solution. Thirteen of the 14 solutions were meaningful. The one meaningless solving course provides the grist for the discussion and demonstrates that: (1) an unfamiliar problem need not be solved meaningfully to be solved correctly; and (2) a meaningless solution process need not be characteristically algorithmic. (38 references) (JJK)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Conceptual Approach; Graphing (Mathematics); Procedural Reasoning
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (Boston, MA, March, 1992).