Think Mathematically: A Problem-based Learning Approach

By Tak Wah Wong and Yiu Chi Lai.

Published by The International Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Learning

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Mathematics is difficult for many primary school students, but it is an essential subject for developing their thinking abilities, such as the ability to conceptualize, formulate, reason about, communicate, and solve problems. Thus many mathematics educators consider mathematics a powerful way to train critical thought. For these reasons, investigating good methods to increase students’ interest in studying mathematics and then to think mathematically have become important issues in mathematics education. Many researchers agree that the problem-based learning (PBL) approach is an effective approach to train students to learn things through self-discovery, and the results of this study also show that PBL can help students think mathematically. In addition, this paper demonstrates how to use the PBL teaching approach to develop students’ higher-order thinking, and it also uses some examples from mathematics to illustrate the process of conducting PBL lessons.

Keywords: Think Mathematically, Problem-based Learning, Higher-order Thinking

The International Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Learning, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp.19-35. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 517.677KB).

Dr. Tak Wah Wong

Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics and Information Technology, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, China

Dr. Wong Tak Wah obtained his Doctoral Degree at University of Leicester. He is now teaching in the Department of Mathematics and Information Technology of the Hong Kong Institute of Education (HKIEd) as an assistant professor. Before joining HKIEd, he had been teaching as a Lecturer at Sir Robert Black College of Education, as an Assistant Master at Special Education Section of Hong Kong Education Department, as a Graduate Master at Hong Kong and Australia high schools, as a tutor at Hong Kong Open University (OLI ). Dr. Wong is very active in educational activities, publications and research. He had actively participated in the project “Hong Kong Mathematics Olympiad” for more than ten years, he is now the Vice Chairman of the National Hua Luo-geng Cup Mathematics Competition Hong Kong Committee. He has also performed as a co-author in many mathematics reference books and textbooks such as “Calculus and Statistics”, “Algebra and Calculus”, “ New Century Mathematics S1–S3”, “Maths & You”. In addition, Dr. Wong has published and presented many mathematics education papers at internationally refereed journals and conferences.

Dr. Yiu Chi Lai

Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics and Information Technology, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, China

Dr. Yiu Chi Lai is an Assistant Professor of the Department of Mathematics and Information Technology. Dr. Lai has extensive teaching experience in Computer subjects and mathematics. His current teaching and research areas include Curriculum and Teaching Methods of IT subjects, IT in Education, and Assessment for Learning. He is active in educational research and curricular resources development. His publications include school textbooks, workbooks, monographs, journal articles, conference papers, training booklets, newspaper articles, CD-ROMs, computer software, and learning websites.