The Posing of Mathematical Problems Involving Multiplicative Structures by Elementary School Teachers

Abstract This study investigates how elementary school teachers conceive and formulate problems within the conceptual field of multiplicative structures. Thirty-nine public school teachers (1st to 9th grade) were asked to formulate mathematical problems which resolution would involve multiplication and division. The results have shown that teachers understand what a multiplicative situation is and can formulate verbal problems appropriately. There were only a few cases where relevant information was omitted, or which contained language-related inaccuracies. It was also found that most of the problems were of the same type, and that their resolution required only one step. This lack of variety was observed among all teachers, regardless of the grade they taught. Thus, it has been concluded that teachers have difficulties in posing problems that make use of the various situations characteristic of the multiplicative structures field. It is, therefore, crucial to develop the elementary school teachers’ ability to pose problems.