Learning Sciences Institute Australia

Using mathematics to solve real world problems: The role of enablers


The purpose of this project is to identify, apply and refine teaching approaches that help secondary students learn how to use mathematics to solve real world problems; the processes of mathematical modelling. The study will investigate the factors, mathematical, cognitive, social and environmental, that “enable” Year 10/11 students to successfully begin the modelling process, that is, develop mathematical representations of a real world problem. This research will generate new theoretical and practical insights into the role of these enablers in promoting successful modelling.

The potential benefits of learning to use mathematics to solve real world problems include enhanced student engagement and achievement in the range of school subjects, access to a wider range of career options (e.g., STEM), and the capability to take a critically informed approach to participation in society. More broadly, the ability to apply mathematics to the real world is an essential foundation for international competitiveness in a world undergoing rapid technological and economic change.

Chief Investigators

  • Professor Peter Galbraith (UQ)
    Professor Mogens Niss (Roskilde University, Denmark)


  • Discovery Project $446,000



Industry Partner

  • Australian Research Council