A division problem with a remainder embedded across two contexts: children’s solutions in restrictive vs. real-world settings. (English)

Focus Learn. Probl. Math. 19, No. 2, 58-72 (1997).

Traditionally, routine word problems have been used in mathematics classes to illustrate how the acquisition of computational skill can be applied. For example, after practicing the long-division algorithm, students have been given word problems that require the application of the algorithm. In this approach, computation-driven word problems emphasize the importance of the computation at the expense of meaning and sense-making. A number of studies have investigated students solving division problems with remainders. Students’ failure to solve such division problems is due, in part, to their inability to map computational results back to the real-world context of the problem. This exploratory study examines students’ interpretation of remainders in division as applied to word problems embedded in two contexts ‒ in a restrictive, in-school setting, and in a real-world, out-of-school setting. (orig.)