Insights following the development of modeling and reasoning tasks
Monday, November 30, 2020, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Around the world, the ability to use mathematics is defined as one of the goals of the curriculum. Therefore, in addition to imparting knowledge and techniques, the learning materials in many countries include complex problem solving and the use of mathematical modeling and reasoning. The underlying pedagogical concept for this combination is expressed in the PISA 2021 Mathematics Framework.
However in Israel, a mapping of the learning materials generally used in middle school, commissioned by the foundation, revealed that materials combining abstract and applied thinking barely exist and seldom reach the classrooms. Therefore, our primary effort during the past two years has focused on developing such instructional materials and diagnostic tools inspired by the PISA framework.
To date, development has taken place on two tracks: mathematics lessons that involve context-based tasks and advanced mathematical modeling in science classes. Up to this point, the foundation has approved grants for 13 such programs that are developing 440 new tasks (340 for mathematics lessons and 100 for science lessons). The development process is being executed along with teams of teachers who are trying out the tasks in their classrooms.
Wider implementation is slated to begin soon, with the hope of eliciting feedback that will help improve the materials and tools and make them more precise. Additional development will complement fields of knowledge that are still missing in our portfolio and on adapting the tasks for distance instruction, and harnessing digital tools for self-learning.
Questions for discussion
- What lessons and insights emerge from the development to date? Is the combination of mathematical knowledge and real-life contexts successful? What are the difficulties?
- Do the tasks being developed sufficiently cover the mathematical content of the curriculum and the range of relevant real-life contexts?
- To what extent are the materials that have been developed adapted to distance teaching and self-learning?
Background material for the discussion