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Ways to teach modelling—a 50 year study

Burkhardt, Hugh


Hugh Burkhardt


This article describes a sequence of design research projects, some exploratory others more formal, on the teaching of modelling and the analysis of modelling skills. The initial motivation was the author’s observation that the teaching of applied mathematics in UK high schools and universities involved no active modelling by students, but was entirely focused on their learning standards models of a restricted range of phenomena, largely from Newtonian mechanics. This did not develop the numeracy/mathematical literacy that was so clearly important for future citizens. Early explorations started with modelling workshops with high school teachers and mathematics undergraduates, observed and analysed—in some case using video. The theoretical basis of this work has been essentially heuristic, though the Shell Centre studies included, for example, a detailed analysis of formulation processes that has not, as so often, been directly replicated. Recent work has focused on developing a formative assessment approach to teaching modelling that has proved both successful and popular. Finally, the system-level challenges in trying to establish modelling as an integral part of mathematics curricula are briefly discussed.


Burkhardt, H. (in press). Ways to teach modelling—a 50 year study. ZDM,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 29, 2017
Online Publication Date Nov 27, 2017
Deposit Date Dec 19, 2017
Publicly Available Date Dec 19, 2017
Journal ZDM
Print ISSN 1863-9690
Electronic ISSN 1863-9704
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Modelling; Formulation process; Translations skills; Design principles; Numeracy; Mathematical literacy; Strategies for systemic change
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Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address:


10.1007%2Fs11858-017-0899-8.pdf (3.4 Mb)

Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address:

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