Can mathematical modelling be taught and learned in primary mathematics classrooms: A systematic review of empirical studies

Yicheng WEI, Qiaoping ZHANG, Jing GUO

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

Abstract

STEM education has been promoted in schools worldwide to cultivate students’ 21st-century skills. Mathematical modelling is a valuable method for developing STEM education. However, in this respect, more attention is given to secondary level or above compared with kindergarten or primary level. Teaching mathematics at the primary level is closely related to authentic problems, which is a crucial characteristic of mathematical modelling activities. After screening 239 publications from various databases, we reviewed 10 empirical studies on mathematical modelling at the primary level. In this systematic review, we analysed the following three aspects: (1) the use of professional development intervention methods/strategies to enhance the intervention effects and the competencies of primary teachers to utilize mathematical modelling; (2) the effects of mathematical modelling on primary students and methods of improving their mathematical modelling skills; and (3) methods used to assess the modelling skills of primary school teachers and students. The results indicate that professional development interventions can enhance the teaching quality of mathematical modelling. The components of the interventions should include an introduction to the pedagogy of mathematical modelling, clarifying the role of the teacher and the student in mathematical modelling activities. Through mathematical modelling, students can generate mathematical ideas, explore mathematical theorems independently, develop critical thinking, and improve their metacognitive and communicative skills. The competency of mathematical modelling is often determined using formative assessments of teachers and students. Because limitations still exist in conducting primary-level modelling activities, schools should utilise more standardised assessment methods, provide universal teacher training, and grant more opportunities for primary school students to participate in mathematical modelling activities. The lack of research on cross-cultural contexts should draw the attention of future research. Copyright © 2022 by the authors.
Original languageEnglish
Article number923
JournalEducation Sciences
Volume12
Issue number12
Early online date14 Dec 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Citation

Wei, Y., Zhang, Q., & Guo, J. (2022). Can mathematical modelling be taught and learned in primary mathematics classrooms: A systematic review of empirical studies. Education Sciences, 12(12). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12120923

Keywords

  • Mathematical modelling
  • Primary mathematics education
  • Mathematical modelling competency
  • Systematic review
  • STEM education

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