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An Investigation on seventh grade students’ use of bar model method in solving algebraic word problems

Baysal, Esra
The purpose of this research is understanding the use of bar model method used in Singapore math curriculum while solving algebra word problems in 7th grades and students’ reasons for the solution method preferences in solving algebraic word problems. The data were collected from 10 seventh grade students from a public middle school in Sincan, Ankara, in the spring semester of 2018-2019. In this single case study, an initial assessment was applied to 42 seventh grade students for selecting the participants. Students’ errors were analyzed and 10 students were selected. A threehour instruction about solving algebraic word problems with bar model method was provided these students. After the instruction, a clinical interview with each student was carried out. During these interviews, students solved the algebraic word problems with any method that they want and shared their thoughts about using bar model method. The results indicated that bar model is an effective method for remedying seventh grade students’ errors in solving algebraic word problems. Particularly, it resulted with a positive role on seven of 10 students’ performances. This study revealed that bar model method is useful for visualizing the problem content. Although some of the students experienced difficulties in solving problems, nine of the 10 students found this method easier and more interesting. They also preferred the bar model method instead of the algebraic equation method. Thus, this study suggests providing students with more oppourtunities to use the bar model method in algebra problems at various difficulty levels.