n Learning and Teaching Mathematics - Word problems : friend or foe?

Volume 2005, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1990-6811


In my experience many students produce incorrect, and sometimes meaningless relationships to express a word problem mathematically. Sometimes in our efforts to make mathematics meaningful for our students we neglect to take life experiences into account. Many traditional textbook word problems portray situations that are contrived (e.g. age problems), or that are socially, culturally or gender-wise foreign (e.g. problems involving male dominated sports), or that are simply not applicable in real life (e.g. calculating area for wall papering an igloo). Why is it then that we continue to use these problems?

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