The purpose of this study was to synthesize qualitative research findings about mathematical modeling at the high school and college levels focusing on the inquiry processes applied during modeling. A total of 19 primary studies published in peer-reviewed journals between January 1, 2000, and February 28, 2013, with a total of 1,290 subjects met the inclusion criteria. The research findings revealed that mathematical modeling can enhance students’ problem solving techniques and that it has a potential to be supported by scientific inquiry methods. This conclusion prompts more sophisticated research focused on investigating student perceptions of transitioning from mathematical modeling to problem solving and their success with the latter, as other research shows that students who perform well in the traditional learning environments do not necessarily do well in more complex problem-solving situations that require more complex thinking. This research also shows the need for the establishment of a stronger link between mathematical modeling and problem solving in high school practice. As it has been widely proven that mathematical modeling, even when taught in isolation to problem solving, helps accomplish multiple math learning objectives, it is hypothesized that if set as a leading method of problem-solving techniques, its impact on students’ mathematical knowledge acquisition is projected to be much higher. Mathematical modeling has the potential to bridge math with other academia; thus, addressing the issue of a closer integration of science inquiry with math emerged as a venue for future investigation. The authors strongly advocate conducting further research in these regards.
Andrzej Sokolowski, Texas A&M University, USA
Stream: Curriculum research and development
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