Original Research

Developing a model for problem-solving in a Grade 4 mathematics classroom

Susan Nieuwoudt
Pythagoras | Vol 36, No 2 | a275 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/pythagoras.v36i2.275 | © 2015 Susan Nieuwoudt | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 August 2014 | Published: 18 December 2015

About the author(s)

Susan Nieuwoudt, Faculty of Educational Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa


The teaching of problem-solving through the development of a problem-solving model was investigated in a Grade 4 mathematics classroom. Learners completed a questionnaire regarding their knowledge of mathematical problem-solving, their attitudes towards problem-solving, as well as their experiences in solving problems. Learners’ responses revealed overall negative beliefs towards problem-solving as well as a lack of knowledge about what problem-solving in mathematics entails. The teacher then involved the learners in a structured learning programme where they worked in cooperative groups of six on different kinds of mathematical problems to solve. The groups regularly engaged in discussions about the different strategies they were using to solve a specific problem and eventually succeeded in formulating a generic problem-solving model they could call their own. The model was effectively used by the learners to solve various mathematical problems, reflecting their levels of cognitive development to a certain extent.


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