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ERIC Number: EJ775316
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003-Dec
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 4
ISSN: ISSN-0025-5785
Working on Word Problems
Barwell, Richard
Mathematics Teaching, n185 p6-8 Dec 2003
Despite plenty of practice, many students find interpreting and solving word-problems difficult. How can teachers work with students so that they learn to make appropriate sense (or should it be "inappropriate sense"?) of word-problems? One way to investigate how students make sense of word-problems is to ask them to write some of their own. The author has recently worked with students from a culturally and linguistically diverse Y5 class. He asked them to write and solve word-problems in pairs and recorded their discussions. His analysis of what the participants discussed revealed a number of patterns. He was particularly interested in what the students paid attention to as they created their word-problems. In this article, he describes three patterns of attention which he identified: (1) attention to genre; (2) attention to personal experience; and (3) attention to mathematical structure. He explains each pattern and illustrates it with a clip from transcripts of the recordings.
Association of Teachers of Mathematics. Unit 7 Prime Industrial Park, Shaftesbury Street, Derby, DE23 8YB, UK. Tel: +44-1332-346599; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A