# Word Problems: Research and Curriculum Reform

By Stephen K. Reed | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
Algebra Problems

The transition from the elementary word problems discussed in chapter 4 to the multistep problems discussed in chapter 5 was relatively straightforward. Multistep problems can be solved by formulating a plan for combining the elementary schemas found in chapter 4. But the transition from arithmetic word problems to algebra word problems is more complicated. Although I have used algebra word problems in most of my research on problem solving, I have never been very confident that I could distinguish between algebra word problems and other kinds of problems. One reason is that this distinction seems to depend more on the approach used to solve the problem (whether or not the student uses algebra) than on the problem itself. A better distinction therefore is to distinguish among the different methods that students use to solve problems that we might typically classify as algebra word problems.

According to the NCTM standards, the ability to represent situations with algebraic quantities is a central skill that is a prerequisite to understanding many areas of mathematics. The first section of this chapter looks at what is involved in making this transition from arithmetic to algebra. The transition requires thinking differently about mathematical operations and about the meaning of symbols such as the equals sign. It also requires understanding how letters are used in equations to represent variables. The difficulty of representing relations between variables is illustrated in the extensive research that has been done on variations of the student-professor problem. One consequence of student's difficulty with algebra is that they often attempt to solve word problems by using nonalgebraic approaches. When this is possible, students typically do better by having access to a variety of strategies.

-76-

If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes

#### Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

#### Cited page

Word Problems: Research and Curriculum Reform

• The Studies in Mathematical Thinking and Learning Series Alan Schoenfeld, Advisory Editor ii
• Title Page iii
• Contents vii
• Preface ix
• Chapter 1: Introduction 1
• Part I Knowledge Structures 13
• Chapter 2: Learning Rules 15
• Chapter 3: Conceptual Understanding 28
• Part Ii Problems 43
• Chapter 4 Elementary Problems 45
• Chapter 5: Multistep Problems 62
• Chapter 6: Algebra Problems 76
• Part III Transfer 99
• Chapter 7: Abstracting Solutions 101
• Chapter 8: Adapting Solutions 116
• Chapter 9: Representing Solutions 134
• Part Iv Important Topics in the Nctm Standards 149
• Chapter 10: Wor(l)d Problems 151
• Chapter 11: Estimation and Functions 166
• Chapter 12 Curriculum Reform 184
• References 203
• Author Index 213
• Subject Index 217
Settings

#### Settings

Typeface
Text size Reset View mode
Search within

Look up

#### Look up a word

• Dictionary
• Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
• Bookmarks
• Highlights & Notes
• Citations
/ 220

### How to highlight and cite specific passages

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

## Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

## Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.