Learning to apply mathematics in engineering modelling through constructing virtual sensory systems in maze-videogames. (English)

Amado, Nélia (ed.) et al., Proceedings of the 12th international conference on technology in mathematics teaching, ICTMT 12. Faro: University of Algarve (ISBN 978-989-8472-68-7). 509-517 (2015).

Summary: This work is part of a research project that aims to enhance engineering students’ learning of how to apply mathematics in modelling activities of real-world situations, through the construction (design and programming) of video games. This work is framed in constructionism which considers that learning is facilitated through engagement in the construction of external objects. Here, we present the work of six university engineering students who were asked to build a videogame where a virtual mobile robot has to navigate a maze; this required the modelling of combinational logic circuits, which in turn needed Boolean algebra and the simplification of logic equations. The programming of the videogame involved brainstorming and experimentation in a meaningful and motivating activity, where students were able to apply the theoretical mathematical knowledge in the design of the real world project (in this case a model of a digital systems).