Modeling as a means for making powerful ideas accessible to children at an early age

Lesh, R., English, L.D., Sevis, S., & Riggs, C. (2013) Modeling as a means for making powerful ideas accessible to children at an early age. In Hegedus, S. & Roschelle, J. (Eds.) The SimCalc Vision and Contributions: Democratizing Access to Important Mathematics. Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht, pp. 419-436.

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Abstract

The SimCalc Vision and Contributions Advances in Mathematics Education 2013, pp 419-436 Modeling as a Means for Making Powerful Ideas Accessible to Children at an Early Age Richard Lesh, Lyn English, Serife Sevis, Chanda Riggs … show all 4 hide » Look Inside » Get Access Abstract In modern societies in the 21st century, significant changes have been occurring in the kinds of “mathematical thinking” that are needed outside of school. Even in the case of primary school children (grades K-2), children not only encounter situations where numbers refer to sets of discrete objects that can be counted. Numbers also are used to describe situations that involve continuous quantities (inches, feet, pounds, etc.), signed quantities, quantities that have both magnitude and direction, locations (coordinates, or ordinal quantities), transformations (actions), accumulating quantities, continually changing quantities, and other kinds of mathematical objects. Furthermore, if we ask, what kind of situations can children use numbers to describe? rather than restricting attention to situations where children should be able to calculate correctly, then this study shows that average ability children in grades K-2 are (and need to be) able to productively mathematize situations that involve far more than simple counts. Similarly, whereas nearly the entire K-16 mathematics curriculum is restricted to situations that can be mathematized using a single input-output rule going in one direction, even the lives of primary school children are filled with situations that involve several interacting actions—and which involve feedback loops, second-order effects, and issues such as maximization, minimization, or stabilizations (which, many years ago, needed to be postponed until students had been introduced to calculus). …This brief paper demonstrates that, if children’s stories are used to introduce simulations of “real life” problem solving situations, then average ability primary school children are quite capable of dealing productively with 60-minute problems that involve (a) many kinds of quantities in addition to “counts,” (b) integrated collections of concepts associated with a variety of textbook topic areas, (c) interactions among several different actors, and (d) issues such as maximization, minimization, and stabilization.

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ID Code: 58172
Item Type: Book Chapter
Funders: ARC
DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-5696-0_23
ISBN: 9789400756953
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Funding:
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Springer.
Deposited On: 13 Mar 2013 01:32
Last Modified: 02 Oct 2014 01:30

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