This study provides an account of how it is possible to work with mathematical models and modelling at the Swedish upper secondary level. It shows how a researcher and two teachers, departing from what is written in the mathematics curriculum document about mathematical models and modelling and the teachers’ mathematics teaching practices, collaborate to design and develop two so called modelling modules. These two modules designed for, and integrated in, the Mathematics C and Mathematics D course respectively, were implemented in the teachers’ classes and the whole process was evaluated. The students’ experiences of working with the modules were also investigated.
The conceptual framework used to study this process of design, implementation, and evaluation is built up of design-based research methodology, cultural historical activity theory (CHAT), and co-learning agreement between the researcher and the participants.
The teachers as well as the students expressed that they enjoyed working on the modules and found the experience positive and rewarding. However, some doubt concerning the learning outcome on behalf of the students were raised among the teachers, and the wish to incorporate more scheduled time into the modules was expressed by the students.
It is concluded that the participating teachers could had difficulties in expressing a clear conception of the notions of mathematical models or modelling and no affirmative conclusions could be drawn that the participation of the teachers changed their attitudes towards mathematical models and modelling. The designing process was often was restrained by constraints originating from the local school context, and working with modelling highlights many systemic tensions in the established school practice. Also, meta-results in form of suggestions of how to resolve different kinds of tensions in order to improve the study design are reported.
Linköping University: Linköping Universtiy Electronic Press , 2009. , 219 p.