Event Title

Comparing Mathematical Understanding: Inquiry-Based Instruction versus Traditional Instruction in an Eighth Grade Pre-Algebra Classroom

Session Title

Education across Disciplines

College

College of Education

Department

Department of Counseling, Leadership, and Educational Studies

Honors Thesis Committee

Kelly M. Costner, Ph.D.; Jessica Hamm, Ph.D.; Sarah Marie Catalana, Ph.D.

Location

WEST 214

Start Date

12-4-2019 1:15 PM

Description

This study examined inquiry-based mathematics instruction and traditional mathematics instruction in the setting of two eighth-grade pre-algebra classrooms. The goal was to determine whether one method of teaching has a greater impact than the other on the mathematical understanding of students. The two classes were taught the same content across the same days. Class A was taught using an inquiry-based instructional approach for mathematics, wherein students worked in small groups on carefully planned tasks with little more than guiding questions from the teacher to construct their own meaning and understanding of mathematics concepts. Class B was taught using a traditional instructional approach for mathematics, wherein the teacher presented the topic, demonstrated the steps to solve a problem, and then had students practice the same procedure by solving similar problems. Data obtained from pre- and post-assessments were analyzed to compare and contrast mathematical understanding between the two groups. Field notes from the researcher and the host teacher were also analyzed to provide further insight into student understanding. Implications from the findings may be useful to mathematics teachers who are contemplating the advantages and disadvantages of traditional versus inquiry-based approaches.

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Apr 12th, 1:15 PM

Comparing Mathematical Understanding: Inquiry-Based Instruction versus Traditional Instruction in an Eighth Grade Pre-Algebra Classroom

WEST 214

This study examined inquiry-based mathematics instruction and traditional mathematics instruction in the setting of two eighth-grade pre-algebra classrooms. The goal was to determine whether one method of teaching has a greater impact than the other on the mathematical understanding of students. The two classes were taught the same content across the same days. Class A was taught using an inquiry-based instructional approach for mathematics, wherein students worked in small groups on carefully planned tasks with little more than guiding questions from the teacher to construct their own meaning and understanding of mathematics concepts. Class B was taught using a traditional instructional approach for mathematics, wherein the teacher presented the topic, demonstrated the steps to solve a problem, and then had students practice the same procedure by solving similar problems. Data obtained from pre- and post-assessments were analyzed to compare and contrast mathematical understanding between the two groups. Field notes from the researcher and the host teacher were also analyzed to provide further insight into student understanding. Implications from the findings may be useful to mathematics teachers who are contemplating the advantages and disadvantages of traditional versus inquiry-based approaches.