MODELLING AS A METHODOLOGY REVEALING THE PRESENCE AND USEFULNESS OF MATHEMATICS IN EVERYDAY LIFE OF PRIMARY SCHOOL STUDENTS
Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Conference name: 14th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 8-9 November, 2021
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:If we reflect on what surrounds us and our actions in everyday life, we will certainly see the need to resort to mathematics at various times. Sometimes students have questions about the usefulness of mathematics in their lives, which makes us believe that they do not see it in their everyday situations. Mathematical modelling is a methodology that takes real situations as a starting point, preferably of interest and need to the student so that he/she can solve problems with the help of mathematical tools. At the same time, while finding the answer to the problem, the student obtains new mathematical knowledge. Mathematical modelling tasks require more prior preparation, in that the teacher has to know the reality, interests and problems of the students of the class in question in order to design problem questions that are relevant and from which knowledge can be obtained for the level of education in question.
A study was conducted with 21 students from a 4th grade of primary school, in which mathematical modelling tasks were implemented during a certain school period. The tasks were designed taking into account the context of the class and were mainly related to their pet animal, the turtle Accelerate, which was of interest to most students. With these tasks we were able to work the programmatic content of volume and capacity through the analysis of his aquarium. Anonymously, and in the classroom, a pre-test and a post-test were applied, consisting of the same questions in order to verify possible effects of the methodology. This study sought to answer the following research question: "Do mathematical modelling tasks allow students to become aware of the presence and usefulness of mathematics in everyday life?"
Data were then collected and processed using Excel sheets and SPSS application software, organising, accounting and relating the data obtained, and following a qualitative, descriptive and interpretive methodology.
Regarding the statement "mathematics is present in our daily life" it was found that before the application of mathematical modelling tasks 66.7% (14 out of 21) totally agreed, 28.6€ (6 out of 21) agreed and 4.1% (1 out of 21) had no opinion. Subsequently, in the post-test, it was found that the implementation of the tasks allowed further reinforcing the idea that mathematics is really present in everyday life, since 90.5% (19 out of 21) totally agreed with the statement.
In this way we conclude that although the results of the pre-test of the class under study had already been positive, i.e., the class was already aware of the presence of mathematics in daily life, the use of this methodology confirmed and reinforced even more this idea of the students of the class, since there was an evolution in the results. Thus, we can say that, yes, mathematical modelling helps to make students aware of the presence and usefulness of mathematics in our daily lives.
Keywords: Primary school students, mathematical modelling, mathematics in everyday life.