Investigating Elementary Students’ Problem Solving and Teacher Scaffolding in Solving an Ill-Structured Problem

Mi Kyung Cho, Min Kyeong Kim
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This study investigated the features of elementary students’ problem solving skills, when teachers provide scaffolding in the process of solving an ill-structured problem in an elementary school mathematics classroom in Seoul, South Korea. In this study, participants solved the ill-structured problem following the phases of Analyze, Browse, Create, Decision-making, and Evaluate. When problem solving was completed without the phase of the Evaluate, to provide metacognitive scaffolding helped to analyze the information of the problem in more depth by returning to identifying related information, which was the sub-phase of Analyze and Browse. When there were difficulties in deepening their understanding of the information from the problem situation, to provide strategic scaffolding helped to access information in an organized way and facilitated solving an ill-structured problem. Based on these results, this study draws implications about scaffolding that can help in the process of solving ill-structured problems, and ultimately suggests the direction to advance to improve problem solving ability in mathematics education.


Ill-structured problem, Problem solving, Scaffolding

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Cho, M. K. & Kim, M. K. (2020). Investigating elementary students’ problem solving and teacher scaffolding in solving an ill-structured problem. International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science and Technology (IJEMST), 8(4), 274-289.



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International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science and Technology (IJEMST) 
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Editors: Ismail Sahin & Mack Shelley

Place of Publication: Turkey & Name of Publisher: Ismail Sahin

ISSN: 2147-611X (Online)