Strategic support to students' competency development in the mathematical modelling process: A qualitative study




Activity sheet, Mathematics applications, Mathematical modelling cycle, Mathematical modelling competencies, Scaffolding, Strategic support


This article reports on third-year mathematics students’ competency and sub-competency development through providing intentional support in the learning of mathematical modelling. Students often
experience modelling as difficult, and obstructions in the modelling process can lead to a dead end. Literature reports confirm that the modelling task is central in the modelling experience and a carefully planned task, aligned with a suitable activity sheet, can be used as a scaffold in learning mathematical modelling. Hence, this inquiry was conducted to provide a scaffold, as strategic support, for students’ mathematical modelling competency development in the early stages of a modelling cycle. Guided by the framework of the Zone of Proximal Development, key elements suggested by the metaphor scaffolding are considered in the learning experience. Based on an analysis of activity sheets collected through group work, an example of a realistic and an unrealistic solution is presented, and students’ development of mathematical modelling competencies is argued. Finally, suggestions for intentional support in the modelling process are discussed.


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How to Cite

Durandt, R., & Lautenbach, G. (2020). Strategic support to students’ competency development in the mathematical modelling process: A qualitative study. Perspectives in Education, 38(1), 211-223.



Research articles