Once I decided my inquiry was going to focus on helping students better understand word problems, I needed a place to start. I started with simply observing and taking notes about how my students were solving problems.
So here's what I noticed was happening for many of my students:
- Students would not read through the problem, they would just pull out the numbers.
- Students would, for the most part, just add all the numbers.
- Students were not identifying the important information or the question in the problem.
- Students were not identifying the operation needed to solve the problem.
- Students did not understand the vocabulary in the problem.
- Students had difficulty reading the problem, which was a little more tricky because most students were allowed to have questions read to them. So I did not focus on this issue as much.