TY - JOUR

T1 - A computer game as a context for non-routine mathematical problem solving

T2 - The effects of type of question prompt and level of prior knowledge

AU - Lee, Chun Yi

AU - Chen, Ming Puu

PY - 2009/4

Y1 - 2009/4

N2 - The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of type of question prompt and level of prior knowledge on non-routine mathematical problem solving. A computer game was blended within the pattern reasoning tasks, along with question prompts, in order to demonstrate and enhance the connections between viable problem-solving strategies and the content knowledge in a visible manner. Seventy-eight 9th graders from two classes in a public junior high school participated in the 6-week experimental instruction. Participants were randomly assigned to the specific-prompt group and the general-prompt group to receive the one-hour weekly treatment. The results revealed that (a) the interaction of question prompts and prior knowledge was not significant, and (b) for the problem-solving performances, the specific-prompt group outperformed the general-prompt group and the high prior-knowledge group outperformed the low prior-knowledge group. Further, students receiving specific prompts outperformed those receiving general prompts in the problem-solving performance: reasoning for two variables. Students with high prior knowledge outperformed those with low prior knowledge in the two problem-solving performances: reasoning for one variable and reasoning for two variables. It was also found that prior knowledge and comprehensive mathematical ability were important predictors for the two problem-solving performances: reasoning for one variable and reasoning for two variables. However question prompts and mathematics attitude were not significant predictors for predicting the problem-solving performance of reasoning for one variable. Lastly, implications for these results and recommendations for future research were discussed.

AB - The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of type of question prompt and level of prior knowledge on non-routine mathematical problem solving. A computer game was blended within the pattern reasoning tasks, along with question prompts, in order to demonstrate and enhance the connections between viable problem-solving strategies and the content knowledge in a visible manner. Seventy-eight 9th graders from two classes in a public junior high school participated in the 6-week experimental instruction. Participants were randomly assigned to the specific-prompt group and the general-prompt group to receive the one-hour weekly treatment. The results revealed that (a) the interaction of question prompts and prior knowledge was not significant, and (b) for the problem-solving performances, the specific-prompt group outperformed the general-prompt group and the high prior-knowledge group outperformed the low prior-knowledge group. Further, students receiving specific prompts outperformed those receiving general prompts in the problem-solving performance: reasoning for two variables. Students with high prior knowledge outperformed those with low prior knowledge in the two problem-solving performances: reasoning for one variable and reasoning for two variables. It was also found that prior knowledge and comprehensive mathematical ability were important predictors for the two problem-solving performances: reasoning for one variable and reasoning for two variables. However question prompts and mathematics attitude were not significant predictors for predicting the problem-solving performance of reasoning for one variable. Lastly, implications for these results and recommendations for future research were discussed.

KW - Improving classroom teaching

KW - Secondary education

KW - Teaching strategies

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=59049088577&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=59049088577&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.compedu.2008.10.008

DO - 10.1016/j.compedu.2008.10.008

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:59049088577

VL - 52

SP - 530

EP - 542

JO - Computers and Education

JF - Computers and Education

SN - 0360-1315

IS - 3

ER -