ERIC Number: ED370764
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Using the Pythagorean Theorem in a Contextualized Problem.
Schroeder, Thomas L.
This qualitative assessment of tenth-grade students' (n=17) problem solving focused on the nature of students' thinking, their problem-solving strategies and heuristics, the mathematical approaches they selected, and the ways they monitored their own progress. The problem, presented orally and with photographs in a task-based interview, involved a sloping ramp connecting a fixed dock with a floating dock. The most direct method of solving the problem was to apply the Pythagorean theorem. There were two respects in which the context of this activity seemed to influence performance: (1) Students had difficulty translating from the given problem situation to a mathematical representation, and (2) because the problem involved right triangles, which the students had recently been studying, many students initially attempted to attack the problem using trigonometric tools, which was either inefficient or confusing. The discussion of results includes consideration of persistence in seeking a solution and cognitive monitoring of solution processes. Contains 11 references. (MKR)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Pythagorean Theorem; Representations (Mathematics)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Atlanta, GA, April 12-16, 1993). For a related paper, see SE 053 846.