Turkish primary school students strategies in solving a non routine mathematical problem and some implications for the curriculum design and implementation

Erdoğan A.

International journal for mathematics teaching and learning, no.Nisan, pp.1-27, 2015 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)


Turkish primary mathematics curriculum emphasizes the role of problem solving for teaching mathematics and pays particular attention to problem solving strategies. Patterns as a subject and the use of patterns as a non-routine problem solving strategy are also emphasized in the curriculum. The primary purpose of this study was to determine how primary school students who learn mathematics in this context approached non-routine problems. The secondary purpose of this study was to discuss how effective this context could be for non-routine problem solving and to develop some perspectives for curriculum design and implementation. With these purposes, a rich problem in terms of problem solving strategies was employed and eight 6th grade students (12-13 years old) participated in the study. The problem solution attempts made by the students for 5 weeks indicated that their non-routine problem solving strategies were quite poor and inflexible. The results of the study also showed that the students used the pattern-seeking strategy as a simple search for regularity. These results were discussed in terms of both internal and external consistency problems to be taken into account when designing and implementing a curriculum.