Monday, July 19, 2010

Bukit View Primary School Primary 2 Mathematics

During the meeting, as a facilitator, I focussed on three things. One, the research theme. Two, on the main task. Three, on the practice tasks.

The LS team has selected "to develop pupils' ability to solve two-step word problems". I tried to get the team to see that there research theme was not focussed enough. What is it that you want the students to learn - to solve word problems is too broad? It was the comprehension of word problems that the team wanted to know more about. I probed further. It seems to me that the team wanted to know more about how to develop independent problem solvers and they are interested to study this in the context of two-step word problems.

Thus, the research theme is actually "to develop independent problem solvers". It so happens that in this LS the team is studying this using two-step addition and subtraction word problems. What the team learn from this should be useful in helping students with other types of word problems including those involving miltiplication and division or for that matter any combinations of operations.

The team has the view that (a) it is better to teach 'consistent' word problem (the operation is + when the word more is included) first before a second lesson on the 'inconsistent' version (the operation is - when the word more is included), and (b) it is better to teach one type of word problem and get them to pratise this type before proceeding to other types.

I tried to get the team to think on two issues: (a) Is it good to use a problem that reinforce misconception (+ when the word more is included)? (b) Is it fruitful to teach problems one type at a time? Can teachers finish all the combinations (even for to-step ones, the combinations are numerous add/add, add/subtract, subtract/add, subtract/subtract, add/multiply, subtract/multiple, you get the idea!

The team has decided to use the model method to help students visualize the situation, to teach the students to picture the situation as they read the problem, and to not focus on keywords but the entire sentence.

There was also an interesting point raised which is does visualization leads to comprehension or it is actually the reverse. And if comprehension preceeds visualization then what leads to comprehension.

I ended the meeting by urging the team to decide the main teaching task and the practice tasks. I also attempt to prepare the team of the possible things they may observe during the research lesson.

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