Exploring links between multiplication problem types, learners' setting up of models and use of strategies within a small-scale intervention

Dlamini, Emmanuel
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This study explored models and strategies used by one class of Grade 6 learners across a range of multiplication problem types under a realistic mathematics approach (RME) in a former Model C primary school in Johannesburg East. Forty learners participated in six intervention lessons over a period of six weeks. Learners were presented with mathematical word problem-solving tasks. Evidence of model use, type of models generated, and how the models and the corresponding strategies were used to solve multiplication problems were assessed. The main focus was to discover the models and strategies that learners were using prior to the intervention lessons (assessed using a pre-test), to identify the shifts with respect to these models and strategies during the course of the intervention lessons and finally to identify the kind of models and strategies that learners were using by the end of the small scale intervention (assessed with a post-test which was a repear sitting of the pre-test). Results indicated that learners were using a limited number of models and strategies at the beginning. As a result of the intervention lessons, learners began to use a broader range of models within their problem-solving. Post-test results indicated that a broader range of models and substantial shifts away from use of the column model were associated with increased success in learners‟ multiplication problem-solving performance at the end of the intervention lessons.
A research report submitted to the WITS SCHOOL OF EDUCATION, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Education (Primary Mathematics). Johannesburg, 2014