ERIC Number: ED180840
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Oct
Reference Count: 0
The Effect of Problem Structure on First-Graders' Initial Solution Processes for Simple Addition and Subtraction Problems. Technical Report No. 516.
Carpenter, Thomas P.; And Others
Forty-three first-grade children, who had received no formal instruction in addition and subtraction, were individually administered 20 problems that could be solved using addition or subtraction. The problems were selected to represent the following semantic types: joining, separating, part-part-whole, comparison, and equalizing. Responses were coded in terms of appropriateness of strategy, correct or incorrect answer, type of error, mode of representation, and solution strategy. For every problem but the two addition comparison problems, over 70% of the subjects chose a correct strategy. There were very few systematic errors. Only 15 of the 860 responses involved the wrong choice of operation. The majority of solutions involved the use of concrete objects, but a significant number used fingers or did not use any physical representation. Contrary to previous analysis of children's solution processes for addition and subtraction problems, these results suggest that children do not transform problems so they can apply a single strategy. Rather, they have a rich repertoire of strategies which they apply directly to a problem based on its semantic structure. The results also suggest that verbal problems may be an appropriate context to introduce addition and subtraction operations. (Author/MK)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Wisconsin Univ., Madison. Research and Development Center for Individualized Schooling.
Note: Report from the Project on Studies in Mathematics; For related document, see ED 175 629