This study looked at what components are in student solutions to computational estimation problems involving fractions. Past computational estimation research has focused on strategies used for estimating with whole numbers and decimals while neglecting those used for fractions. An extensive literature review revealed one study specifically directed toward estimating with fractions (Hanson & Hogan, 2000) that researched adult estimation strategies and not children's strategies. Given the lack of research on estimation strategies that children use to estimate with fractions, this study used qualitative research methods to find which estimation components were in 10 eighth-grade students' solutions to estimation problems involving fractions. Analysis of this data differs from previous estimation studies in that it considers actions as the unit of analysis, providing a smaller grain size that reveals the components used in each estimation solution. The analysis revealed new estimation components as well as a new structure for categorizing the components. The new categories are whole number and decimal estimation components, fraction estimation components, and components used with either fractions or whole numbers and decimals. The results from this study contribute to the field of mathematics education by identifying new components to consider when conducting future studies in computational estimation. The findings also suggest that future research on estimation should use a smaller unit of analysis than a solution response to a task, the typical unit of analysis in previous research. Additionally, these results contribute to mathematics teaching by suggesting that all components of an estimation solution be considered when teaching computational estimation, not just the overarching strategy.
College and Department
Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Mathematics Education
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Hanks, Audrey Linford, "How Eighth-Grade Students Estimate with Fractions" (2008). Theses and Dissertations. 1332.
mathematics education, computational estimation, estimation