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Reasons for Rapid Growth in Addition Strategy Use in 1st Grade Students

Ildze Čakāne1, Astrida Cirulis1, 2, Ilze France1
1 University of Latvia, Latvia
2 Concordia University Chicago, USA

Abstract. Today’s quickly evolving world requires citizens to use the tools of mathematics to make informed decisions. This involves understanding the meaning and properties of mathematical operations and the ability to use them in an intuitive and flexible manner to solve problems. Working with mathematical operations begins in early primary school and establishes a basis for future work in mathematics.
Choosing the best addition strategy to compute effectively and accurately and the ability to explain their work is often challenging for young children. They often rely on familiar and safe solutions without thinking about why they chose a certain method. The purpose of this research was to gain understanding of the factors that influence students’ fluency with addition, their ability to explain their work and along with that gain flexibility and confidence in mathematics.
This is action research, that involves 16 first grade students, all of whom were struggling with math at the beginning of the school year, but some of them made great gains in their ability to solve mathematics problems involving addition. The students with high performance improved in their ability to explain their actions verbally and use multiple strategies and choose appropriate and effective strategies for each task.
The aim of this research is to understand the reasons for the rapid improvement of the high performance subjects and compare it to the lower performing groups in order to help improve understanding of number operations for all students. The research involves observations and written work over a school year, and individual interviews with the students. Data about the home environment was collected from parents. The research shows that a tendency for rapid progress is due to active participation in guided class discussions and use of advanced strategies for routine tasks.

Keywords: addition strategies, calculation speed, mathematical reasoning, primary school mathematics

To Be or Not to Be a Great Educator, 2022. Proceedings of ATEE Annual Conference
Riga: University of Latvia Press, 2023. 985 p.
EdL. Daniela
ISBN 978-9934-36-019-0