Low attaining children’s understanding and use of the additive composition principle in problem solving

Voutsina, Chronoula (2011) Low attaining children’s understanding and use of the additive composition principle in problem solving. In, EARLI 2011: Conference of the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction, Exeter, U.K., 30 Aug - 03 Sep 2011.


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The paper presents findings from a project which aimed at exploring low attaining children’s sensitivity to problem relationships based on additive composition and possible variations in children’s understanding and capability to use such relations in problem solving. Fifteen 6-7 year-old children solved conceptually related and unrelated addition problems in individual sessions. All problems involved single-digit additions up to 20 with two or three addends ranging between 1 and 9. Conceptual relations between problems were constructed to reflect aspects of the principle of additive composition. Children’s understanding of additive composition relations was explored by analysing children’s strategy use and explanations of the equality between conceptually related problems. The findings indicate high within-group variation in children’s capability to recognise and use numerical relations between problems. Children who used mainly basic calculation procedures were able to explain retrospectively why two problems had the same answer by recognising the numerical, part-whole relations between problems. Prompting children to use a previously solved problem did not have a considerable effect in children’s noticing of the numerical relations but the requirement to explain the problem equality evoked greater sensitivity to additive composition relations. The findings highlight the need for pedagogical approaches that enable low attaining children to operationalise their capabilities into their learning.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Divisions : Faculty of Social and Human Sciences > Southampton Education School > Mathematics, Science & Health Education (MSHE)
ePrint ID: 198995
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
August 2011Delivered
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2011 15:35
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:45
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/198995

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