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# HBMT1103 INTRODUCTION TO MATHEMATICS EDUCATION

INTRODUCTION. Problem solving has a special importance in the study of mathematics. A primary goal of mathematics teaching and learning is to develop the ability to solve a wide variety of complex mathematics problems. During mathematics problem solving, one goal is to find a solution for a given problem. Other goals may be to generate new problems, generate alternative solutions, interpret a result, or generalize. TheCurriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics published by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, (1989), advocates that a primary goal for students is "that they become mathematical problem solvers". The National Council for Teachers of Mathematics (2000) has given strong emphasis to problem solving in the mathematics classroom. The process of problem solving, according to Polya (1957), involves four steps: understanding the problem, devising a plan (solution), implementing the plan and looking back (examining the solution). These processes demand the ability to develop a deep understanding of the problem and to devise a plan to solve it. Problem solving (Polya, 1973; Schoenfeld, 1985) has been advocated as revealing more of the strategies employed by children in the course of solving mathematical problems. While problem solving can be described through the use of heuristics and meta-cognitive strategies, the underlying assumption is that all mathematical entities consist of well-organized structures, waiting to be discovered. Teachers of mathematics should inculcate in children the inclination to develop strategies in the process of solving problems and to value its importance. However, the process of problem solving has not been given proper emphasis in schools, possibly due to the fact that teachers themselves are not very competent problem solvers and the burden of syllabus to finish and public examinations to prepare the students for. As a primary school teacher, we should know the mathematics concept before we started teaching mathematics. According to Catania et. al (2003), mathematics has three dimensions such as facts and procedures, understanding and problem solving. Lots of practices on facts and procedures without understanding will make mathematics will be difficult and boring.
SEBASTIAN LEMBANG ANAK IGOL 781112135167002

## HBMT1103 INTRODUCTION TO MATHEMATICS EDUCATION

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Five reasons why problem solving skills should be emphasized in mathematics curriculum. Problem solving is an important skill in learning of mathematics. According to Smith

## HBMT1103 INTRODUCTION TO MATHEMATICS EDUCATION

Problems solving skills also narrow the gap between mathematics and real life problems. Mathematics is the queen for any types of situation in our daily life situations. Most of our situation in our life involved mathematics to solve it. For the example, to get some food during the break time will ask the pupils to count the amount of money they have in order to buy the food they want to have. To get a healthy body, pupils must know types of food they have to take and the quantities available for them. This means most of our daily situations involved mathematics to solve it. Besides that, problems solving skills also promote pupils to challenge the real-life problems. By learning problems solving skills, pupils can ready themselves to face challenges in their real life. They can solve the problem involve their lifestyle easily and in the correct procedures without any trouble. For an example, when they want to buy some new stationary for the next semester or for an examination. Pupils will have to make a budget plan before buying something to make sure they they have the correct amount of money. So, this problems need mathematics processes to solve this type of problems. These five reasons show why problem solving skills need to be emphasized in teaching mathematics. If the pupils can use the correct mathematics procedures to solve mathematics problems, then they wouldnt have any trouble to solve their real life situations.

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## Examples of words problems.

Question 1 : Azmin watches cartoons for half an hour every day. How much time, in minutes, does he spend on watching cartoons in a week?

## The strategy to solve this problem is Simplify the problem.

Step 1: Understand the problem. Teacher guides the pupils to find the information given in the problems and what they are asked for.

: half an hour every day. : times spend on watching cartoons in a week (in minutes).

Step 2: Devise a plan. In this step, Teacher will ask the pupils about the correct operation.

Operation

: Multiplication.

Step 3: Carry out the plan. Before they can carry out the plan, Pupils will be asked to change the unit according to the question. After that, they have to write the number sentence (horizontal form) to make sure that they will use the correct operation. Then, they need to do the calculation in the vertical form/standard writte method.

Solve

## i) half an hour = 30 minutes. ii) one week = 7 days.

Number sentence :

30 minutes X 7 days =

## 30 minutes 7 days 210 minutes

Step 4 : Check the answer. In order to make sure that they have found the correct answer, they will have to check the answer by reversing the operation in step 3. Check : 210 minutes 7 days =

## 30 minutes 210 minutes - 21 .0 0 .

If they found the correct answer in step 4, they will write the answer from step 3 in the apce provided.

Question 2 : The mass of an empty bag is 360 g. When the bag is full of books, its mass becomes 1.6 kg. What is the mass, in kg, of the books?

## The strategy to solve this problem is Simplify the problem.

Step 1: Understand the problem. Teacher guides the pupils to find the information given in the problems and what they are asked for.
SEBASTIAN LEMBANG ANAK IGOL 781112135167002

## HBMT1103 INTRODUCTION TO MATHEMATICS EDUCATION

Given

: i. mass of an empty bag = 360g. ii. mass of the bag full with books = 1.6kg

## : mass of the books (in kg).

Step 2: Devise a plan. In this step, Teacher will ask the pupils about the correct operation.

Operation

: Substraction.

Step 3: Carry out the plan. Before they can carry out the plan, Pupils will be asked to change the unit according to the question. After that, they have to write the number sentence (horizontal form) to make sure that they will use the correct operation. Then, they need to do the calculation in the vertical form/standard writte method. kg 1 0 6 3 g 0 6 0 0

Solve

## HBMT1103 INTRODUCTION TO MATHEMATICS EDUCATION

Step 4 : Check the answer. In order to make sure that they have found the correct answer, they will have to check the answer by reversing the operation in step 3.

Check

: 1.240 kg + 0.360 =

## 1.240 kg + 0.360 kg 1.600 kg

If they found the correct answer in step 4, they will write the answer from step 3 in the apce provided.

1.240 kg

## HBMT1103 INTRODUCTION TO MATHEMATICS EDUCATION

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Data analysis.

Bil. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

Name ADELINE CHAN ALEX JOE LARRY CLODIA ANNIE DEWINA AK SAREP DORIS LIZA ELISSHAM AK SAKIM ELVIS AK IMPIN EVELYN UNA AK ROBERT HANNA AK KATIJAH LILYANNA VIZESSA AK AGEN LYDIA AK BERONG MARYLNA AK PILAR NAZREEN AK TATAU NEREEN AK MANAS NIGLAS AK YATI PAULINE AK ONOK SIM WAN CHUIN SITI MASLIZA WELFEREDDEE ZABIL AK NORLELA

Question 1 10 10 10 7 10 10 7 9 8 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 9 3 7 10

Question 2 10 10 10 3 9 6 5 8 9 9 9 7 7 10 10 9 10 1 10 6

Total 20 20 20 10 19 16 12 17 17 19 19 17 17 20 20 19 19 4 17 16

a)

Number of pupils pass with full marks = 5 persons Percentage of pupils pass for this quiz = (5 x 100) 20 = 25 %

b)

Number of pupils fail to answer correctly = 15 persons Percentage of pupils fail for this quiz = ( 15 x 100 ) 20 = 75 %

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## Newmans Error Analysis Procedure.

Newmans Error Analysis is a procedure to identify pupilss error in solving word problems. In this case, the analysis will be on Question 1 only.

From the analysis, we can see that Siti Masliza is very weak in reading and understanding, comprehension and information given in the problems. She was not able to read mathematical problems in English language, neither in Bahasa Malaysia. She cannot read, pronounce or refuse to read. And thats why she often makes mistake due to misunderstanding of term, words or phrases in the question because they unable to understand in English term. She was also unable to understand the meaning of terms in word problems and mathematical operation. In this case, she was unable to point out the main focus or unknown information of the problems. She will unable to transform word problems into mathematical sentences correctly including symbols and operations. For this situation, she can only guess the meaning of the problem from the sentence given by her own style.

Dewina, Elvis and Welfreddee have difficulties to comprehend what is read and transform the words problems to Mathematical sentence. They cannot understand the meaning of terms in the word problems and mathematical sentence. They also have difficulties to relate terms and operation and concepts. They were confused and unable to write proper symbols and relevant operation as related to terms in the word problems. In other words, they are facing difficulties in the interpretation of word problems.

As for Evelyn Una, Hanna and Sim Wan Chuin, they were careless to follow the correct steps in order to solve the word problem. Evelyn Una didnt write the number sentence to complete the third step in Polyas Model. As for Hanna and Sim Wan Chuin, they did not complete the information given and write the full information asked for in the word problem. This type of mistake is called carelessness.

The rest of the puils did not facing any difficulties to solve the word problems. They can follow the correct steps and find the correct answer as asked in the word problem.
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## HBMT1103 INTRODUCTION TO MATHEMATICS EDUCATION

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The effective strategies in teaching Mathematics words problems in the classroom. Based on my findings, there are two effective strategies in teaching Mathematics word

problems in the classroom. The first one is simplify the problem. This strategy is suitable for advance pupils. They found that, simplify the problem is the most convenient and fastest way to solve mathematics word problem. The advance pupils dont like to waste their time by drawing diagram, do simulation or analogy. For some pupils who were still weak to find the information given and what was the problem is all about, draw a diagram or construct a table is the best way for them to solve word problems. They can understand the problem when they construct a table and try to to find the blank row or column according to the information given. No matter what kind of strategy that the pupils want to use, they still have to follow the four steps in Polyas Model. The four steps are : i) ii) iii) iv) understand the problem, devise a plan, carry out the plan, and check the answer.

From my understanding and other reading, I find that the effective strategies in Mathematics words problem in the classroom is simplify the problem. There are four main reason why I choose simplify word problems as the effective strategies in teaching Mathematics words problems in the classroom. The four main reasons are: a) Pupils can understand better the operations involved to solve the problem after they identify and write down the given information and what is the problem all about.

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## HBMT1103 INTRODUCTION TO MATHEMATICS EDUCATION

b)

Pupils can save more time and more space in order to solve word problems, especially during their exam, such as UPSR. Maybe they can solve the

problems by drawing a diagram, but during the exam there is time limitation to solve word problems. c) It is much easier for the examiner to check the pupils steps and their final answers. Pupils can still score at least 1 mark out of 3 if they can show any correct step, if their final answer is wrong. But, by drawing a diagram, its too hard for the examiner to understand what the pupils are trying to show if they have the wrong answer. d) There is so much different between how to solve problems in their daily life than showing the correct four steps correctly based on Polyas Model. Pupils will be very disappointed if they know the correct answer but dont really know how to write the correct steps in order to prove that they know the answer to the problems. After all, people will always look at their examination results rather than asking them whether they know or dont know the correct answer. In primary school, to solve word problems, it is necessary to work in an organized manner. Wording in some math problems might scare young students, but there are many easy tricks for solving word problems. Learning about the strategies for solving word problems will help in all aspects of life. Here is an example of how we can simplify the problems involving addition word problems in the classroom: 1. UNDERSTANDING THE PROBLEM
o o o

First. You have to understand the problem. What is the unknown? What are the data? What is the condition? Is it possible to satisfy the condition? Is the condition sufficient to determine the unknown?

Separate the various parts of the condition. Can you write them down?

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## HBMT1103 INTRODUCTION TO MATHEMATICS EDUCATION

2. DEVISING A PLAN
o Second. Find the connection between the data and the unknown. You should obtain

## eventually a plan of the solution.

o Have you seen it before? Or have you seen the same problem in a slightly different

form?
o Do you know a related problem? o Look at the unknown! And try to think of a familiar problem having the same or a

similar unknown.
o Here is a problem related to yours and solved before. Could you use it? Could you use

## its result? Could you use its method?

o Could you restate the problem? o Did you use all the data? Did you use the whole condition?

## 3. CARRYING OUT THE PLAN o Third. Carry out your plan.

o

Carrying out your plan of the solution, check each step. Can you see clearly that the step is correct? Can you prove that it is correct?

## 4. Looking Back o Fourth. Examine the solution obtained.

o o o

Can you check the result? Can you check the argument? Can you derive the solution differently? Can you see it at a glance? Can you use the result, or the method, for some other problem?

Some problems overwhelm us with their complexity. In such cases, it may pay off to simplify the problem. So, as my conclusion, I will choose simplify the problem as the effective strategies to solve mathematical word problem.

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## HBMT1103 INTRODUCTION TO MATHEMATICS EDUCATION

CONCLUSION.

Polya (1957/1997) proposes four stages, which have sub stages, to explain the problem solving process; (i) understand the problem (ii) devise a plan (iii) carry out the plan (iv) chenck the answer.

Taking this behaviour into account during instruction is helpful in order to solve the problem and to improve problem solving ability. From these problem solving process stages, Polyas stages are well-known and taken into account for the present study. Polyas sub stages and the mental activities involved in these stages are as follows:

(1)Understand the problem: This stage requires understanding the problem. The teacher can ask some questions like: (i) What are the data? What is the condition? (ii) What is the unknown? State each part with your own sentence etc.

(2) Devise a plan: At this stage a connection between the data and the unknown is investigated. If the operations to be made are known then we have a plan. If not, you may be obliged to consider auxiliary or similar problems in order to find a connection. You may try to solve a part of the problem, examine all the data, guess the answer, etc. After these attempts you should eventually obtain a plan of the solution. In fact, a plan depends on an appropriate strategy. In a solution of a problem sometimes one strategy, sometimes more than one strategy can be used. Main strategies used in problem solving are; (1) make a systematic list (2) guess and check (3) make a drawing
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## HBMT1103 INTRODUCTION TO MATHEMATICS EDUCATION

(4) look for a pattern (5) write an equation (6) solve a similar or simpler problem (7) work backward (8) construct a table and (9) reasoning.

(3) Carry out the plan: By using the chosen strategy, the problem is solved step by step in this stage. If the solution cannot be found, the strategy is changed.

(4)Chech the answer: At this stage, the solution is checked in terms of the original problem, to see if the answer is reasonable or not and whether there is another way for the solution or not. Related problems which can be solved by this strategy are also considered (Mason,1999).

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