Mathematical modeling is a cornerstone of students’ K-12 mathematics learning experiences. In their debut episode, your Room to Grow hosts discuss ideas for including more mathematical modeling in your classroom.
Joanie and Curtis start by acknowledging that the term “modeling” conjures up many ideas for educators and for students, and define their non-negotiable characteristics of mathematical modeling. They suggest the differentiators include that students must have the opportunity to apply the math they know to modeling tasks, and that these tasks are grounded in authentic contexts where the mathematics has real meaning and a real outcome, rather than being a typical math word problem.
Math educators are constantly managing the constraints of time and an excess of content to be taught, so our hosts share their ideas for finding the time to do modeling tasks and ensuring the time is spent well. They remind the listener that mathematical modeling isn’t an experience to tackle frequently, but to invest in these activities when they align with high-leverage math content and ensure deeper levels of engagement and understanding for students. The investment can pay off down the road for educators and students who take the time when it is most beneficial.
Finally, listeners are encouraged to consider when during instruction to bring modeling tasks in and the affordances of using these for formative assessment. Joanie and Curtis suggest that managing cognitive complexity alongside the mathematical demands of a modeling tasks can support effective implementation and the most positive experiences for students. Start small and set yourself up for success!
Be sure to check out these resources to support your mathematical modeling efforts: