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# PER-SERVICE ELEMENTARY TEACHERS' SITUATIONAL STRATEGIES IN DIVISION

Anu Laine, University of Helsinki; Sinikka Huhtala, Helsinki City College of Social
and Health Care; Raimo Kaasila, University of Lapland; Markku S. Hannula,
University of Turku & Erkki Pehkonen, University of Helsinki

Here we will present some preliminary results of our research project on pre-service
primary teachers’ views of mathematics (the project financed by the Academy of
Finland; project #8201695). We have collected survey data of 269 pre-service
primary teachers in the beginning of their mathematics studies . Here we will
concentrate on teacher students’ understanding of division. Division is an essential
arithmetical operation , and there are many misconceptions connected to it. These
might be: “You must always divide the bigger number by the smaller one” (e.g. Hart,
1981) or “You can operate with the digits independently : 84÷14=81 because 8÷1=8
and 4÷4=1” (Anghileri, Beishuizen & van Putten, 2002).

Understanding of division with decimal numbers was measured by task 16.8÷2.4.
About half of the students (51 %) could do the calculation . Students used different
approaches in solving the problem . Using quotitive division and “trial and error” or
independently” had caused the most common wrong answer 8.2 and “dividing in

Task “Solve 7÷12 by using long division algorithm” measured among other things,
whether students divided the numbers in right order . 16 % of students divided 12 by
7. In task “Write a word problem to task 6 ÷ 24 and solve it ” students seemed to be
able to write a word problem little better than to calculate the task . The most common