Contextual Images in Mathematics Problem Solving Solving word-problems is a difficult task for many students. Understanding, the first step to solving a problem (Polya, 1945; Kintsch & Greeno, 1983), requires the activation of three schemata; the language, the contextual, and the mathematical. Students who are unable to construct a contextual understanding of a problem situation are limited in their understanding of the problem (Brown & Wheatley, 1997). This study investigated the effects of providing a dual system of contextual information, the words of the problem coupled with an image to activate the contextual schema, on the mathematical problem solving of 5th and 6th grade students. MANOVA indicated that the presentation of the contextual images had no effect on problem solving performance. An analysis of student work indicated that many students chose a correct strategy to solve a given problem. However, their application of the strategy (for example an algorithm) was incorrect or incomplete. |