A novel response time paradigm allows us to 'decode' individual differences in solving one-step algebra problems (e.g., x - 7 = 2). We find that adults vary in their strategy choices and flexibility for these problems. We also extend problem size effects from arithmetic to the algebraic context, but only for addition (not subtraction) problems.

Varying instructional method across conditions, we developed multimedia story sequences with systems-of-equations problems whose solution requires using variables.

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