Universidade de TrĂ¡s-os-Montes e Alto Douro (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2021 Proceedings
Publication year: 2021
Pages: 9596-9600
ISBN: 978-84-09-34549-6
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2021.2217
Conference name: 14th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 8-9 November, 2021
Location: Online Conference
Nowadays, mathematics is a subject that does not meet the preferences of students, often because they do not see it as useful, which consequently decreases the motivation to work on it. Mathematical modelling is a methodology that seeks to give meaning and utility to this subject. Mathematics is present in many situations in reality and we use it on many occasions without realising it. Mathematical modelling considers a real problem and, starting from it, proceeds to simplify and adapt it so that it can be problematised and then develop a model that will provide a solution to the problematic situation initially considered. With this approach it is possible to practice a transversal teaching, that is, relating the different subjects of the curriculum. Furthermore, by using situations of interest to the student, which make sense to him/her, it ends up motivating him/her to obtain an answer, thus significantly learning mathematical content.

In order to verify if the level of students' motivation towards mathematics has evolved after contact with this typology of tasks, a study was carried out with a 4th grade class of the 1st cycle of basic education that sought to answer the following research question: "Do mathematical modelling tasks lead to a greater motivation for learning the subject?"

For the development of this study, we chose to apply a pre-test, before the students of the class had contact with mathematical modelling tasks, and then a post-test, in order to check whether the initial ideas had changed. It should be noted that the structure and composition of the pre-test and post-test were the same, that they were anonymous and that they were applied in paper version in a classroom context. Data were then collected and processed using Excel sheets and SPSS software, organising, accounting and relating the data obtained, namely comparing the results of the pre-test and post-test and following a qualitative, descriptive and interpretative methodology.

Twenty-one students from a class of the 4th grade of primary school participated in this study. When confronted with the statement "I feel motivated to learn mathematics", in the pre-test 47.6% (10 out of 21) said they totally agreed, 38.1% (8 out of 21) said they agreed and 9.5% (2 out of 21) said they totally disagreed, that is, they did not feel motivated. After the contact with mathematical modelling tasks there was an evolution in that, in the post-test, when confronted with the same statement 76.2% (16 out of 21) totally agreed, that is, they were motivated for learning the subject.

It is important to note that there were no responses to the most negative categories, so students who were previously unmotivated became motivated at this stage of the study. In this sense, we conclude that the implementation of mathematical modelling tasks had an effect in the class in question, increasing the level of motivation towards the subject, which makes us believe that the use of mathematical modelling tasks is related to greater motivation for learning and, consequently, for the achievement of significant learning
Mathematical modelling tasks, primary school, 4th grade.