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ERIC Number: EJ852276
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Aug
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 6
ISSN: ISSN-1073-5836
Second-Grade "Professors"
Wu, Zhonghe; An, Shuhua; King, Joyce; Ramirez, Melissa; Evans, Stacee
Teaching Children Mathematics, v16 n1 p34-41 Aug 2009
Finding ways to help primary-grade students overcome difficulties in solving mathematical word problems can be a daunting task for teachers in a regular classroom setting. Student challenges may include: (1) difficulty with vocabulary; (2) lack of confidence when solving problems; (3) confusion on the proper operation to use when solving a problem; and (4) students' lack of knowledge of various problem-solving strategies. The ways in which mathematical ideas are represented is fundamental to how students can understand and use those ideas. Many researchers agree that students benefit from active, cooperative learning; multiple representations; and sharing and reflecting with peers. Along with these strategies, the authors' focus for solving mathematical word problems is rooted in and extends research by Hildebrand, Ludeman, and Mullin's "Integrating Mathematics with Problem Solving Using the Mathematician's Chair" (1999) to enhance students' mathematical proficiency in solving mathematical word problems in regular classroom teaching. Simply put, the mathematician's chair is where students sit and share problems they have authored along with their individual solution strategies. The authors' problem-solving process includes four sequential steps: (1) classroom instruction; (2) student group discussion; (3) student presentation; and (4) student evaluation. In this inquiry learning process, a teacher's role is to facilitate; students take the roles of problem solvers, professors, and evaluators. This article describes how classroom teachers at Gompers Elementary School in Lakewood, California, used mathematician's chair activities to engage students in actively learning to problem solve in their mathematics classrooms. In particular, to demonstrate how to implement the mathematician's chair instructional strategy in a real classroom setting, the article illustrates the detailed process of the mathematician's chair using examples from the authors' observations and video analysis of a second-grade teacher's instruction. (Contains 5 figures and 1 table.)
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1502. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-3702; Fax: 703-476-2970; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 2
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California