Problem Solving

             Results
revealed that math self-efficacy was more predictive of problem solving than
was math self-concept, perceived usefulness of mathematics, prior experience
with mathematics, or gender (N?=?350). Self-efficacy also mediated the
effect of gender and prior experience on self-concept, perceived usefulness,
and problem solving. Gender and prior experience influenced self-concept,
perceived usefulness, and problem solving largely through the mediational role
of self-efficacy. Men had higher performance, self-efficacy, and self-concept
and lower anxiety, but these differences were due largely to the influence of
self-efficacy, for gender had a direct effect only on self-efficacy and a prior
experience variable. (Pajares & Miller ,1994)

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The
cooperative learning method can be successfully applied in teaching verbal
mathematics problem-solving skills during the preschool period. (Tarim 2009)

Mathematical Game

            According
to Gough (1999) a ‘game’ needs to have two or more players, who take turns,
each competing to achieve a ‘winning’ situation of some kind, each able to
exercise some choice about how to move at any time through the playing”. It is
unavoidable factor of enhancing and accelerating the teaching and learning
process.

Oldfield, (1991) says that mathematical games are
‘activities’ which: involve a challenge, usually against one or more opponents;
are governed by a set of rules and have a clear underlying structure; normally
have a distinct finishing point; have specific mathematical cognitive
objectives.

 

The advantages of using games in
Mathematics were summarized by Davies (1995):

Meaningful
situations – for the application of
mathematical skills are created by games

 Motivation
– children freely choose to participate and enjoy playing;

Positive attitude – games provide opportunities for building
self-concept and developing positive attitudes towards mathematics, through
reducing the fear of failure and error;

Increased learning
– in comparison to more formal
activities, greater learning can occur through games due to the increased
interaction between children, opportunities to test intuitive ideas and problem-solving
strategies

Different levels – games can allow children to operate at different
levels of thinking and to learn from each other. In a group of children playing
a game, one child might be encountering a concept for the first time, another
may be developing his/her understanding of the concept, a third integrating
previously learned concepts;

Assessment – children’s thinking often becomes apparent through
the actions and decisions they make during a game, so the teacher has the
opportunity to carry out diagnosis and assessment of learning in a
non-threatening situation;

 Home and school – games provide ‘hands-on’ interactive tasks for both
school and home.

 Independence – children can work
independently of the teacher. The rules of the game and the children’s
motivation usually keep them on task.

Hints for
Successful Classroom Games according to Aldridge & Badham (1993)

• Make sure the game matches the mathematical
objective

 • Use games for
specific purposes, not just time-fillers

 • Keep the
number of players from two to four, so that turns come around quickly

 • The game
should have enough of an element of chance so that it allows weaker students to
feel that they have a chance of winning.

 • Keep the game
completion time short

 • Use five or
six ‘basic’ game structures so the children become familiar with the rules –
vary the mathematics rather than the rules

 • Send an established
game home with a child for homework

• Invite children to create their own board games or
variations of known games.

 

Effectiveness
of Integrating Games in Teaching Mathematics

            Mathematics
games are widely employed in school classrooms for such reasons as a reward for
early finishers or to enhance students’ attitude towards mathematics.  (Bragg 2007)

When
teachers design, develop and implement innovative teaching methods in their
classrooms, they are likely to capture students’ interests and optimize their
learning outcomes. (Chandra & Fisher, 2009)

Researchers found out games have the potential to draw
students into the learning process and to encourage them to participate through
a more interactive environment (Gosen & Washbush, 2004; Proserpio &
Gioia, 2007; Zantow, Knowlton & Sharp, 2005).

As an educational tool, games have the capacity to
engage and motivate students (Paraskeva et al., 2010; Prensky, 2001), and
therefore, the learning from games is more likely to be retained (Annetta et
al., 2010)