Inside a kindergarten classroom with Augustana students

Strategies to solve word problems using pencil and paper

There is an iPod game called Word Problems that provides different addition and subtraction story problems and provides shapes for the students to use to represent the quantities in the word problem. I am curious to see if there is a difference in strategies used when using this iPod game as opposed to students solving story problems using pencil and paper. I would ask the students about their personal interests and from that information I made up simple addition story problems for the kindergartners to solve using pencil and paper. For example, I would say Nathan had two toy cars and his friend Zach gave him three more toy cars. How many toy cars does Nathan have? Many students used different strategies to solve a problem like this. One student would draw two box and in this case, he would draw two cars in one box and three cars in the other box and then write 2+3=5. I had one student who would draw the two toy cars but then add one more in thinking that he added three since there were now three cars on his paper and would say his answer was three. One student would first solve the problem using her fingers and then would draw out the problem almost as to check and make sure she was write.  I even had one student just look at me and not draw anything until I helped him understand that he should draw the two quantities on his paper.  I would be interested to see if I gave students the iPod game how they would go about solving the problem and if they would be able to do a problem like this in their head. This would allow me to understand if students should learn how to solve word problems by using pencil and paper and drawing out the problem step by step or if the technology version of the word problem is easier for the students. So, next week I will try to have some kindergartners use the iPod word problem game and see if this game allows them to understand the problem more, less, or the same as when they solved the story problems on paper. This question could be considered for each iPod game and then its comparison form using hands on manipulatives. The answer to this question will allow teachers to understand how the should initiate teaching word problems and different strategies that work when using the iPod versus using pencil and paper.

3 Responses to “Strategies to solve word problems using pencil and paper”

  1. some children are so visual, they just need to see it drawn on paper to come up with an answer

  2. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this is excellent blog. An excellent read. I will certainly be back.

  3. Appreciate you using time to writing this, made a very good read

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