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The Learning Sciences Institute Australia (LSIA) has been awarded an ARC Discovery Project to research approaches to improve mathematics teaching

Associate Professor Vince Geiger, Associate Professor Gloria Stillman, Dr Jill Brown, Hon. Professor Peter Galbraith (University of Queensland) and Professor Mogens Niss (Roskilde University) were awarded $446,000 by the ARC for their project titled Learning how to solve real world problems mathematically to commence in January 2017.

This project will identify, apply and refine teaching approaches that develop secondary students’ capabilities in using mathematics to solve real world problems – the processes of mathematical modelling. The study will investigate the mathematical, cognitive, social and environmental factors that “enable” Year 10 and 11 students to develop mathematical representations of real world problems. Through this project, the team expects to generate theoretical and practical insights into how these enablers promote successful modeling, can be incorporated into  tasks that support students’ development as modelers, and frame effective teaching approaches that foster students’ capabilities and interest in mathematics.

Anticipated benefits of the project include: successful student engagement in a range of school subjects, enhanced career options (e.g., in science, technology, engineering and mathematics), a more fully informed participation in society, and a more fully developed skills and capabilities base that will enhance Australia’s international competitiveness in a world undergoing rapid technological and economic change. Research outputs, such as publications and symposia, will have implications for mathematics curricula and educational policy.

The recruitment of participating schools is now underway. Any schools or mathematics teachers of upper secondary schools who may be interested in participating in the research are welcomed to contact A/Prof Vince Geiger (project leader, Queensland) Vincent.Geiger@acu.edu.au or A/Prof Gloria Stillman (project coordinator Victoria) Gloria.Stillman@acu.edu.au.

The award of this ARC Discovery Project is an indication of the nationally recognized research strength in mathematics education at the Australian Catholic University.

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