Reading Symbols in Mathematical World Problem Solving Among Primary School Pupils
Department of Science Education, University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State
This is a study of the effect of prior presentation of relevant mathematical symbols to five primary pupils on their comprehension, translation and accurate solution of word problems. A public school was randomly selected for the study from three schools in the neighbourhood of the researcher in U yo. A n experimental pretest-posttest-retention control group design was adopted. The teaching strategy adopted for the treatment group requires that pupils be
presented with relevant symbols to the word problems at hand, at the start of lesson; guided to read problems with understanding; given specific activities during the lesson which make symbols become very familiar; guided to translate word problems into mathematical statements or equations, and solve problems accurately. In contrast, the strategy for the control group assumed that relevant symbols occurred previously and students do not require deliberate introduction or familiarization with them. Two intact classes of primary 5, consisting of ninety pupils took part. A test instrument of reliability index 0.86 was used to gather data. The group taught with prior presentation of relevant mathematics symbols performed significantly better and also retained significantly better. There is no significance difference in performance of boys and girls in the experimental group.