Relationships Between Problem Solving Strategies and Brain Hemisphericity in High School Students
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The associations between problem solving strategies and brain hemisphericity are examined. The hypothesis is that there is a correlation between the methods used to solve a single opened-ended mathematics problem and the scores obtained in the Style of Learning and Thinking Questionnaire, which measures student’s brain dominance (Torrance, 1988). A total of 98 ninth grade students were randomly selected from a High School in South East Texas to be surveyed. The students completed a demographic questionnaire, an open-ended mathematics problem and the Style of Learning and Thinking questionnaire. Results show that as hypothesized, students who tested high for left brain dominance tended to prefer a written, logical explanation strategy to solve certain complexity levels of the mathematics problems. Also, as hypothesized, students who tested high in right brain dominance, tended to prefer drawing diagrams to solve certain complexity levels of the mathematics problem. However, the listing method did not correlate with left brain dominance as expected on any level of complexity of the mathematics problem. The relationships identified in this study show that the general characteristics associated with each hemisphere of the brain, also apply to mathematical problem solving. This information could be used to help develop more whole brained mathematical problem solvers, by teaching strategies that are associated with both hemispheres.