Effective Teaching of Mathematical Modelling and Applications to STEM Students

Brief Description

This project will analyse university students' difficulties in formulating mathematical models. In 2012 Spooner carried out a research project to see if it was possible for secondary school students to experience an authentic modelling process. The results showed that, given an appropriate time allocation, an authentic modelling process is achievable for a secondary school student but there were gaps in students' abilities to formulate models. Does this transfer into the tertiary environment? What guidelines are used at present for formulating models at tertiary level? Can a set of flexible, generic guidelines be proposed that will be useful for the novice student and the expert mathematical modeller?

In particular this project will look at answering the following questions:

a) What are the challenges that students encounter when undertaking mathematical modelling, in particular while formulating mathematical models?

b) What teacher methods help students overcome their difficulties when participating in the mathematical modelling process, in particular in the formulation step?

c) Can a flexible generic framework be developed for students on formulation of mathematical models?

Team members

  1. A/Prof Sergiy Klymchuk (project co-leader, primary supervisor)
  2. Kerri Spooner (project-co-leader, PhD student)
  3. Dr Roy Nates (secondary supervisor)


Scholarship is being sought.


Project co-leaders – Associate Professor Sergiy Klymchuk sergiy.klymchuk@aut.ac.nzand Kerri Spooner