In the introductory meeting with the students, we will include the following important aspects of the project:
· We will introduce ourselves and explain that we are working on a research project through the University of Arizona. Michelle Roehler is a math student working with Professor Horak to study how middle school students solve word problems.
· With permission from your parent/guardian and teacher, Michelle is going to work with each of you individually in a quiet area at school for a problem-solving session. It will be during school hours and last about 20 – 30 minutes. We will work with your teacher to find a good time for you to be away from class.
· In the problem-solving session, Michelle will first ask you some basic questions, such as how you feel about math. Then she will give you a word problem to solve. You will read through it together to make sure you understand what you are supposed to do. Then you will work on the problem by yourself until you are finished or do not want to work any longer. At the end, you will explain how you set up the problem and how you did your work. There will be a total of 3 word problems for you to solve.
· None of your work will be graded. You can quit at any time before or during the problem-solving session. If you decide you do not want to participate at any time, you do not have to.
· In these problem-solving sessions, we hope to learn which methods for solving word problems are most natural for you. Michelle will be writing a report at the end of the project that will reveal the knowledge she gained from working with you on these word problems and possible new ways to teach algebra that will build on your methods.
· Your name, school, and school district will never be used in this research project to protect your confidentiality.
· Before you participate, your parent/guardian must sign a consent form that says that they allow you to work on this project. After obtaining their approval, there will be an assent form for you to sign, as well.