Friday, January 11, 2013

Problem Solving Involving Multiplication of Whole Numbers

Classroom Problem Solving Practices Involving  Multiplication of Whole Numbers   

Grade 2 Math Lesson Study Group
Eight Grade 2 mathematics teachers of a public elementary school in Quezon City together with the Elementary School Mathematics group of UP NISMED collaboratively developed a research lesson on solving problems involving multiplication of whole numbers under the project Collaborative Lesson Research and Development (CLRD) of the Institute. In planning the lesson, the teachers agreed to deviate from using the AGONA (What is Asked?, What are Given?, What Operation will be used?, What is the Number sentence?, and What is the Answer?) in analyzing and solving problems and to encourage pupils to present different ways of solving a problem.

At the start of the project, it was evident that the teachers were hesitant to change some of their current practices such as religiously following the guidelines for solving problems written in the curriculum (AGONA) and presenting only one way of solving problems. These practices could serve as hindrances in developing pupils’ creativity and their ability to think or explore other possibilities in solving problems. One factor that contributes to teachers’ resistance to change is that questions asked during the periodical/district/division tests make use of AGONA. Deviating from AGONA may result in their pupils’ low scores. For these teachers, answering all the questions correctly would mean that pupils have understood how to solve the given problems.
In solving mathematical problems, teachers consider only one solution to a given problem. They tend to practice uniformity with what pupils are required to do. For these teachers, solving problems in different ways will just confuse pupils. This could indicate the teacher’s apprehension of being unable to handle unexpected situations. Such was demonstrated in the first to the third implementation of the research lesson.
Although the Grade 2 teachers were not yet able to completely veer away from AGONA, some changes in the behavior and teaching practices of teachers were observed, such as giving more emphasis on thinking processes, improved questioning skills (deviating from the use of AGONA in discussing solutions to the problem), and their being more reflective and open to accept new ideas. Perhaps with a longer experience doing CLRD, it is hoped that these teachers will improve their teaching practices.
The full text of the study is included in the book titled “BOOK 1.  LESSON STUDY: PLANNING TOGETHER, LEARNING TOGETHER”, which will be published in print form by UP NISMED this first quarter of 2013.
By Aida Yap and Teresita Mañalac


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