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Support for elementary school children with developmental disorders when learning to solve arithmetic word problems
elementary school children
arithmetic word problems
supports for learning
This study examined the effects of the use of folding work sheets in helping children with developmental disorders to learn how to solve arithmetic word problems. In a pre-test, the children solved different kinds of subtraction problems. Problems similar to any that a child found difficult to solve were chosen for use in 10 trials in which the child and an adult supporter solved the same kinds of problems together. The children also receive tests to measure their working memory. In the first half of the trials, the supporter helped the children to solve problems with a pencil and paper by oral instruction only. In the second half of the trials, the supporter provided the children with work sheets that should be folded step-by-step so that the children could focus their attention on the part they were solving at that moment. Between the first and the second half of the trials, and in a post-test, the children solved different subtraction problems alone. The learning processes were analyzed. The findings suggested that the folding work sheets would be useful for children with developmental disorders when solving word problems. Children with poor working memories seemed to easily understand the meaning of the arithmetic problems with the support of the folding work sheets. Moreover, the folding work sheets seemed to encourage children with normal working memory, but with poor attentional control, to continue paying attention when learning.