Title

Preparing Students for Rich Mathematical Tasks: An Analysis of Middle Level Students and the Impact of Problem-Solving Strategies and Growth Mindset Qualities

Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2020

Document Type

Project (696 or 796 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction

Department

Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Courtney LaLonde

Keywords

Rich math task, problem-solving strategies

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of introducing problem-solving strategies and growth mindset on student ability to attempt, persevere, and complete rich mathematical tasks. This study was also committed to discovering relationships between the attitude and motivation of students towards the math classroom. Problem-solving strategies included guessing and checking, creating a visual representation, looking for a pattern, generating lists or tables, solving a simpler problem, and working backwards. Student subjects will be answering written surveys, writing in daily journals, and working with peers to develop their growth mindset. Students and teacher discussed the benefits of the following: analyzing and learning from mistakes, that speed is not as important as understanding, that every student can reach the high math levels that are traditionally set as a goal for only a select few, and that when the students believe in all of this they will begin to find more success in mathematics. Findings showed that students already had a solid grasp of these growth mindset beliefs but were still hesitant to implementing newly learned problem-solving strategies. The study was abbreviated due to the Covid-19 national pandemic, abbreviating much of the data collection period.

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