Quentin Morgan

What’s the Big Deal with Word Problems?

In teaching, we learn and adapt daily. One specific concept that challenges my classroom is word problems. My research plan is titled, “What’s the Big Deal with Word Problems,” and takes an in depth look at why students find word problems so difficult to answer correctly. This persistent problem is easily identified in my classes. Learning and adapting daily, I wanted to complete research to increase my students‘ success in answering word problems. The math tool of my choice is Math Notes. Math Notes is a note taking strategy that builds students’ mathematical reasoning, sense making, and problem solving capacities. I collected data comparing student performance answering word problems without any note taking strategy in place. I then implemented Math Notes as group work for the first few trials, then individually. I used a before and after approach to compare data and determine any significant change that may occur using this tool. I used a 10 question word problem prompt to conduct my research. My initial data reflected that only 30% of my students answered better than 80%. We continued to use Math Notes rigorously where increases in performance took place each week. At the end of my research, week 6, nearly 70% of my students answered a new 10 question word problem prompt at 80% or better. I will continue to use Math Notes in my everyday classroom and recommend this tool to any teacher who finds their students struggling with word problems.


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