Teaching the purpose and meaning of algebraic variables through systems-of-equations story problems: Multimedia approaches

Image credit: Bye et al. (2020)


Traditional approaches to teaching variables often begin with problems students can already solve arithmetically. Varying instructional method across conditions, we developed multimedia story sequences with systems-of-equations problems whose solution requires using variables. Sixth graders from two US schools (n = 163) completed two one-hour learning sessions and a delayed posttest weeks later. Across all conditions, sixth graders’ performance on the posttest was comparable to samples of 12 eighth graders post-learning and 20 ninth graders pre-review.

In Proceedings of the 15th International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS)
Jeffrey K. Bye
Jeffrey K. Bye
Lecturer, Educational Psychology

Researching how people think about math & data. Teaching CogSci & programming.