Mathematical Modeling Opportunities Reported by Secondary Mathematics Preservice Teachers and Instructors

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School Science and Mathematics Journal




Engaging with mathematical modeling can support learners to collaboratively explore mathematics in integrated ways as well as generate mathematical ideas and representations that may be useful in everyday life. Although several studies provide diverse insights into teaching and learning mathematical modeling, research has yet to be conducted on the mathematical modeling learning opportunities available to secondary mathematics preservice teachers (PTs) in mathematics and education courses in teacher education programs. This study investigates the mathematical modeling learning opportunities reported by 48 instructors and ten focus groups of 37 PTs. Multiple data sources (e.g., interview transcripts, syllabi, tasks, and exams) collected from universities were used to achieve triangulation in this case study of secondary preparation programs. When asked about mathematical modeling, both PTs and instructors reported rich examples of mathematical modeling from the opportunities afforded by their respective programs. Both also reported modeling experiences that were not mathematical modeling, such as word problems, representations, or demonstrations. Along with the study's particular themes and examples, common mathematical modeling opportunities recalled by PTs and instructors are elaborated in our findings. This study intends to begin a discussion of possible pathways for providing rich opportunities for PTs to engage in mathematical modeling.