Relationship between visual and nonvisual solution methods and difficulty in elementary mathematics

Tom Lowrie, Russell Kay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)


The purposes of this study were (a) to identify differences in approaches used by students to solve mathematical word problems, (b) to determine the influence of visual and nonvisual methods on task success, and (c) to investigate whether methods employed to solve mathematical problems change as task complexity is reduced. One hundred and twelve Grade 6 students (11–13-year-olds) were required to solve 20 mathematical problems and to identify the method or approach undertaken to complete the task. Results indicated that students typically used visual methods to solve difficult or novel problems, whereas nonvisual strategies were used in less difficult situations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-255
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of Educational Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


Cite this