Teaching indices as mathematical models and as entry points to critical discussions - Design and research of a teaching toolkit to be used in teacher education- international perspective

Project owner

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

Project categories

Applied Research

Project period

January 2018 - June 2020

Project summary

This project has as its starting point our previous and current research  (Teaching and learning about indices and their application in society) with indices (such as Body mass Index, Human development index) in two of our courses at our institution. There have we focused on the potentials and limits of the use of indices in mathematics teaching in our teacher education program for starting critical discussions.  We found out in our study that in-service teachers of primary school show critical thinking when asked to discuss how the Body Mass Index (BMI) is designed mathematically, how is it used and how it does influence our society, and if they would use it in their classroom teaching.

Based on those observations, we wish to further develop the idea of using indices in mathematics teaching, by looking at it in two different contexts, with Norwegian and South African pre-service teachers. The proposed project is between the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL) and the
University of the Western Cape (UWC), South Africa. Ass.prof Suela Kacerja (HVL) and Prof. Cyril Julie (UWC) are leaders for the project. Our main goal is to jointly design a “teaching toolkit for teaching indexes as Mathematical models” to be implemented in pre-service mathematics teacher education master courses at both institutions (Master in Education with specialization in Mathematics at HVL, and Master in Mathematics Education at UWC). A toolkit is a set of learning activities and contains a series of targeted lessons on a topic, annotations on how to deal with anticipated difficulties students might encounter and so advance the students’ learning. The student populations will be teacher education students at the two institutions.
We also want to create synergies between higher education and research by implementing joint research within the project, and invite master and Ph.D students to join in on the development and implementation.

We have already had some meetings in UWC and HVL, and we are currently working with joint articles where we compare data from UWC and HVL master students discussing tasks from the toolkit we have developed. The next face-to-face meeting will take place at UWC, and discussions about the joint papers and participation at ICTMA 19 conference are planned.

One master student from HVL is involved in the project under the supervision of Kacerja & Lilland. She is writing a thesis about existing models (such as indices) used in school and critical discussions in mathematics. As well, one PhD student from UWC is writing her thesis on the topic of the project under the supervision of Cyril Julie.