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Tables and Drawings as Cognitive Tools for Solving Nonroutine Word Problems in Primary School

Thu, April 16, 12:00 to 1:30pm, Sheraton, Floor: Fourth Level, Chicago VI&VII


Representations play a central role in the process of problem solving. This study aims to shed light on teacher-provided representations as cognitive tools for primary students when working on non-routine word problems. Can they facilitate the solution process, and what is the right level of support provided in the representations? In an experimental design we studied a sample of 197 4th-graders who worked on 6 non-routine word problems. An experimental group received problems accompanied by tables and drawings with different levels of support. A control group received no representations. First results indicate that providing drawings or tables does not facilitate problem solving in general. However, if a representation is provided, a drawing is more helpful than a table.