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Theses Doctoral

Mathematical Modeling from the Teacher's Perspective

Huson, Christopher John

Applying mathematics to real world problems, mathematical modeling, has risen in priority with the adoption of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, 2010). Teachers are at the core of the implementation of the standards, but resources to help them teach modeling are relatively undeveloped. This multicase study explored the perspectives of teachers regarding mathematical modeling pedagogy (the modeling cycle), instructional materials, and professional collaboration, with the assumption that understanding teachers’ views will assist authors, publishers, teacher educators, and administrators to develop better support for modeling instruction. A purposeful sample of six high school mathematics teachers from a variety of school settings across the country was interviewed using a semi-structured protocol. A conceptual framework developed by applying the theories of Guy Brousseau (1997) to the modeling literature guided the analysis. Qualitative methods including elements of grounded theory were used to analyze the data and synthesize the study’s results. The research showed that teachers structure their instruction consistently with the modeling cycle framework, but it also uncovered the need for additional detail and structure, particularly in the initial steps when students make sense of the problem and formulate an approach. Presenting a modeling problem is particularly important and challenging, but there is inadequate guidance and support for this teaching responsibility. The study recommends the development of additional materials and training to help teachers with these steps of the modeling cycle. Furthermore, teachers find that modeling problems are engaging, and they help students make sense of mathematical concepts. Teachers would employ modeling problems more often if they were more available and convenient to use. The study recommends that features for an online depository of modeling materials be researched and developed, including a course-based, chronological organization, a diverse variety of materials and formats, and tapping teachers to contribute their lessons.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Mathematics Education
Thesis Advisors
Vogeli, Bruce R.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 4, 2016