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Signatures of mathematical modelling: Tracing primary 6 pupils’ mathematical modelling process and model development
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Paper presented at the 4h Redesigning Pedagogy International Conference, Singapore, 30 May to 1 June 2011
As mathematical modelling is gaining prominence in the field of mathematics education, there is little to inform what it is like in the Singapore primary mathematics classroom due to the lack of research on mathematical modelling carried out locally. Without this knowledge of what it looks like or entail, mathematics classroom pedagogies tend to border on the traditional. This paper is part of a larger study investigating Primary 6 pupils' mathematical
modelling process where mathematical modelling takes on a problem-solving perspective. This paper focuses on a group of four pupils’ mathematical modelling endeavour towards capturing their conceptual representations and the related mathematical translations which are seen as models. A protocol analysis method was used to code pupils' problem-solving behaviours for interpreting their modelling actions. A macro-level analysis of the pupils'
modelling endeavour was carried out to construct and trace the pupils’ model development with respect to their conceptual representations and mathematical translations. The results suggest that the pupils underwent different modelling stages that were characteristic of certain modelling actions and developed a range of models. The pupils were found to develop alternative models, and they tested and revised their models towards better or newer models with the aim of attaining the best solution model. The mathematical translations for model development were based on recognizing the structure between the quantities and variables in relation to the context. Having pupils to engage in mathematical modelling is a promising platform towards realizing the important components of the Singapore Mathematics Curriculum Framework.
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