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Word Problems And Problems With Words: A Possible Solution

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.1166.1 - 6.1166.15



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Paper Authors

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Sallie Townsend

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Natalie Segal

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2248 Paper 902 Word Problems and Problems with Words: A Possible Solution Natalie D. Segal, Sallie S. Townsend S.I. Ward College of Technology at the University of Hartford

Abstract: We began with a question: Why do our students have so much difficulty solving word problems in Math I? Another question followed: Why do our students have so much difficulty writing short (three-to-five paragraph), logical essays in English I? One possible answer: Our students approach math and English problems as if they required entirely different skills. However, aside from their expression in different languages, math and English problems require the same step-by-step analysis, also called problem solving, on the way to solutions. In this paper, we examine possible methods of teaching that analysis. We also propose a closer relationship between math and English curricula as a means of reinforcing our teaching.

Introduction The Samuel I. Ward College of Technology at the University of Hartford offers six Engineering Technology majors: Architectural, Audio, Chemical, Computer, Electronic, and Mechanical. In addition, we teach our own math courses, from Math I, Algebra, through Math V, Differential Equations, and our own English courses, from English I, Expository Writing, through English III, Advanced Technical Communications. These courses provide an alternative to the math and Professional Writing sequences offered by the College of Arts and Sciences and offer the mathematical and writing skills relevant to the Engineering Technologies. In addition, two of our professors teach sections of the Arts and Sciences physics course, again so that Ward students are offered the relevant information. Given the attempt to provide skills our students require at a pace at which they can master those skills, we nevertheless find that many of our freshmen struggle through both Math I and English I. They wrestle with the three-to-five-paragraph essay form, having trouble, for the most part, not with grammar and syntax, but with expressing ideas Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Townsend, S., & Segal, N. (2001, June), Word Problems And Problems With Words: A Possible Solution Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--10036

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