Development of mathematical knowledge through a process of mathematical modeling in primary schools. (Serbian. English summary)

MAT-KOL (Banja Luka) 18, No. 1, 43-52 (2012).

Summary: The article presents some observation on mathematical modeling in elementary schools. Forethought on modeling in schools is based on the {\it N. Mousoulides} et al. article [in: Mathematics in the centre. Proceedings of the 30th annual conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, PME, Prague, Czech Republic, July 16‒21, 2006. Vol. 4. Prague: Charles University, Faculty of Education. 201‒208 (2006; ME 2008b.00482)]). In that paper the authors present the results of a 6th grade class (11 year olds) working on a modeling activity. Traditional mathematics textbooks mostly provide single and straightforward solution problems at which students only apply a formula to reach a solution. On the contrary, students’ work on modeling activities focus on analysing a problematic situation, setting and testing conjectures and model construction. In modeling activities students work in small groups and they are actively engaged in fruitful discussions with their peers and teacher. The results of the study showed that:(a) students with no prior experience in modeling activities applied effectively their informal mathematical knowledge to solve an authentic problem, and (b) social interactions in groups enhanced the discovery of mathematical knowledge.