Document Type


Publication Date



Writing and evaluating contextual problems is an important task in the work of teaching, and thus is part of the knowledge that prospective teachers must develop. In dealing with word problems posed both by children and themselves, prospective teachers will need to attend to the realism of the context and the consistency between the operation and context with integer operations. This study describes an examination of the ways in which 100 prospective teachers responded to a child’s temperature story for an integer addition number sentence (i.e., 9 þ 􀀁 6 ¼ ☐). The child’s story, which was an actual story posed by a Grade 5 student, did not use temperature realistically (realism), nor was it consistent with the given number sentence (consistency). The results indicated that when prospective teachers evaluated the child’s story, they tended to either focus on realism or consistency, but not both. If prospective teachers did not focus their response on realism or consistency, the response was much more likely to be unrealistic or inconsistent itself. Implications point to the importance of addressing both realism and consistency issues when examining integer word problems with prospective teachers.


Originally published in Investigations in Mathematics Learning. Volume 12. Issue 3. 2020. Pages 226-241.

Included in

Education Commons