This observation report explains about the process of teaching and learning place value at SD Negeri 98 Palembang, South Sumatera, Indonesia by using Realistic Mathematics Education Approach with straws and arrow cards as a model of and model for respectively. This activity involved 32 pupils.
In this observation, Mrs. Mariani was a teacher in the classroom. The teaching and learning activities ran about 60 minutes which was helped by Novita Sari and me for documenting and guiding the students to follow the instruction. In this meeting, we introduced the concept of place value to the students through telling the story titled “Ibu Ros dan Pempek”.
B. GOAL OF RESEARCH
The goal of this research is to make students understand the concept of place value by using Realistic Mathematics Education Approach.
C. RESEARCH FINDING
1. Discussion Result
This research conducted in SD Negeri 98 Palembang, a public primary school located at K.H.A. Azhari Street, 14 Ulu, Palembang on the 23th of September, 2011. It is one of the public primary schools in Palembang that has been applying PMRI in the classroom. Before my friend Novita sari and I, went to this school for conducting our research, we had had discussion with Mrs. Mariani as a teacher at grade II. From the discussion, we have a deal that Mrs. Mariani will be a teacher in the class and Novita sari and I will help her to guide the students in the group.
2. Research Activities
The teaching and learning process started around 9.30 a.m. and the teacher checked the students’ attendance and prepared them for learning. In this meeting, we actually wanted to explain the concept of place value to the students by using story as a context. But, in fact, the teacher directly told the students about the concept with traditional approach, direct learning. As usual in many classroom in Indonesian schools, the teacher wrote down the number consisted of three digits in the whiteboard.
After giving the example of hundreds, the teacher explains to the students that she has a collection of colored straws. The colors of straws represent the value of numbers. Yellow straws represent the hundreds, red straws represent the tens and blue straws represent the ones. Then, the teacher asks three students to come to in front of the class and hold the straws with different colors. When the three students hold the straw with different color, the teacher explains to the other students that every straw represents different value.
Later on, the teacher divided the students into small group with 4 and 5 members. Then, she gave straws to every group with 8 yellow straws, 9 red straws and 8 blue straws.
After that, the teacher said several kinds of hundreds and asked the students in the group to arrange the straws that represent the numbers. In this session, most of the students seem very happy. They are competed to each other to put the straws that exactly represent the numbers.
When they come to the answer, the students gave the straws to the teacher. Then, the teacher checks the straws and said whether it is correct or not. When their answer is correct, the students are very happy and yelling together.
Realizing that some of the students have already understood the concept of place value, the teacher read the story that related to the concept of place value. Actually, in our design, the teacher should read the story in the beginning of teaching and learning process of concept of place value. The story ideally acted as a context for the students to learn about the concept of place value. But, in fact, the teacher read the story in the middle of teaching and learning process, when some of the students have already known the concept. Furthermore, she only read it without any attention. Actually, she has to read it carefully and every time she came to the numbers that are pronounced through the story, the students in the group have to determine the numbers in the form of straws. The students should be competed to each other and that time and when the group found the answer, they would clap their hand together.
Realizing that several students still struggle in understanding the concept of place value, I suggested the teacher to use the arrow cards. In our design research, however, arrow cards should be acted as a model for, in order to help the students to understand the concept of place value and also as a bridge from model of context problem to formal mathematics.
The teacher, after receiving my suggestion, gave arrow cards to the students. Novita Sari and I are also helped her to give that cards to the students. When the students received the cards for the first time, there several reactions from them. One of them is they directly arranged the cards in the table.
After giving the arrow cards to the students, the teacher then explained to the students about how to use it. The rule is the teacher will say the numbers and the students have to arrange the arrow cards that represent the numbers. I told the teacher to make it more difficult than before. The teacher said several numbers that are similar to each other such as 312, 321, 231 and 213. In this session, some of the students are got confused. Then, Novita Sari and I helped them to understand about the rule and how to use the arrow cards. When the students worked together in the group, the teacher, Novita sari and I going around seeing and helping the students.
When the students got the answer, they gave it to the teacher. When their answer is correct, they clap their hand together and sometimes jump to express their happiness.
After doing this game, the teacher then gave the students tasks to do in their books. She wrote the questions in the whiteboard. The teaching and learning process of place value concept in the grade II, SDN 98 Palembang is done.
In conclusion, we have already known that teaching and learning of the concept of place value is really interesting when we use Realistic Mathematics Education Approach. Most of the students in the classroom are really active and they feel happy learning mathematics in this way. Besides this fact, there are still some problems that we are going to solve in the next design research or instructional design such as have more talks with the teacher about our design research and also learn more about teaching students at lower grade. Because, according to our experience in this research, the teacher did not implemented our design research totally due to the lack of communication. Other than that, we also have to learn more about RME approach and the other concepts relating to this like the role of the context in teaching mathematics.