Capstone/Dissertation Title

Improving reading to improve math: visualization and mathematical problem-solving

Term

2013

Capstone

Thesis

Degree Name

MAT

Abstract

This capstone investigated the question: how does visualization instruction affect students' ability to comprehend and solve word problems? The study took place in a small group intervention setting with three students over twelve days. Students were introduced to strategies for visualizing and applied those strategies to story problems. The study also used Cognitively Guided Instruction discourse practices when comparing students' solution strategies. Mixed methods were used to examine the effect of the intervention including video recorded pre-tests and post-tests, attitude surveys, anecdotal records, and student work. Results showed there was no quantitative difference in the number of problems students correctly solved. The qualitative results revealed increased sophistication and understanding in students' solution strategies. It is concluded that visualization strategies applied to word problems show promise but further research is indicated.

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