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ERIC Number: EJ898210
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Aug
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 7
ISSN: ISSN-1072-0839
Digesting Student-Authored Story Problems
Alexander, Cathleen M.; Ambrose, Rebecca C.
Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, v16 n1 p27-33 Aug 2010
When students are asked to write original story problems about fractional amounts, it can illustrate their misunderstandings about fractions. Think about the situations students would describe to model 1/2 + 2/3. Three elements, in particular, challenge students: (1) Which of three models (region, or area; measure; or set) is best suited for a particular situation; (2) Unit of consistency relating to the choice of the whole; and (3) Action portrayed in the story compared with the operation of the symbolic problem given. As Barlow and Drake noted, having students write original story problems for particular expressions or equations allows teachers to assess their students' levels of mathematical understanding. The authors offer three recommendations based on the three elements: (1) Provide Multiple Models; (2) Pay Attention to the Units and the Whole; and (3) Explore Actions beyond Sharing. The authors encourage teachers to try this assessment tool with their students to see if some of their students have the same limited understanding apparent in many of the problems they collected. (Contains 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: Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A