Horses for courses: Ways in which children solve mathematical problems

Year: 1994

Author: Lowrie, Tom

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper considers the impact visual and nonvisual learning approaches have on the mathematical problem-solving performance of primary school children. It is argued that visual strategies are best utilised when solving novel problems, while analytical methods are more appropriate once the learner becomes familiar with the domain.

In particular, this paper suggests that preference for solving mathematical problems either visually or nonvisually should not be attributed to "learning style", but other factors including problem type, complexity, novelty, solver understanding and success. The importance of creating a balanced curriculum where both visual and nonvisual learning approaches are given equal weighting is emphasised, along with the need to expose children to alternative solutions to mathematical problems.