MATHEMATICAL MODELING THROUGH UNSTRUCTURED REAL-WORLD PROBLEMS

One of the important ways in which we discussed the modeling of mathematical ideas is the process of connecting mathematical reasoning with real-world situations. These types of problems are open ended and messy and require creativity and persistence.

This inquiry-based problem called Organizing a Table Tennis Tournament comes from the PRIMAS website. PRIMAS is an international project with 14 universities from 12 different countries in Europe that have worked together over four years to promote the implementation and use of inquiry-based learning in mathematics and science. PRIMAS believes that in our knowledge-based society, students must develop the ability to attain knowledge and competencies, as well as problem-solving skills.

Knowledge of facts alone is not enough in the twenty-first-century. They believe that students need to develop competencies to apply their knowledge in realistic, problem-solving situations. Students need to also develop competencies for self-directed learning and to explore new knowledge areas. We chose this inquiry-based learning task because it was an appropriate task, that is, elementary and middle-grade students can relate to for an early mathematical modeling experience.