The University of Montana
Department of Mathematical Sciences

Technical report #14/2005

From Problem Solving to Modelling- A meta-analysis

Nicholas Mousoulides, Constantinos Christou
University of Cyprus, Cyprus

Bharath Sriraman
The University of Montana, USA


Mathematical modelling is a complex mathematical activity, and the teaching and learning of modelling and applications involves many aspects of mathematical thinking and learning (Burkhardt & Pollak, 2006; Niss, 1987; Kaiser, Blomhøj & Sriraman, 2006). An increasing number of mathematics education researchers have begun focusing their research efforts on mathematical modelling, especially at the school level. It is not simply a case of researchers changing their agenda, as much as a growing awareness among the mathematics education community of the need for change (Lesh, Kaput & Hamilton, 2007; Sriraman & Lesh, 2006). More than 25 years ago, a NSF funded project investigated the question: what is needed, beyond having a mathematical idea that enables students to use it in everyday problem solving situations? (Lesh, Landau & Hamilton, 1983). The answer to this question has begun to emerge after 25 years of systemic work in the domain of modelling. In this paper, we chronicle and meta-analyze the emergence of modelling perspectives around the world from the genre of problem solving research and synthesize major strands in the extant literature.

Keywords: design research; learning; modelling; modelling design; modelling research review; problem solving; teaching

AMS Subject Classification: 97

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