Decoding, understanding, and evaluating extant mathematical models: what does that take?

Morten Blomhøj, Mogens Niss

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Abstract. The far majority of theoretical and empirical studies in the didactics of mathematical modelling focus on actively putting mathematics to use in dealing with extra-mathematical contexts and situations. However, modelling competency as conceptualised in, e.g., the Danish KOM Project, also involves the ability to analyse and relate to extant mathematical models. This ability has only been sparsely considered in research. The present paper proposes a systematic approach to such investigations. It takes its departure in in-depth accounts and analyses of two extant models, the so-called Reilly model of the attraction of shopping centres, and the well-established Michaelis-Menten model of enzyme kinetics. The paper aims at identifying what it takes to grasp and critically analyse such and other extant models and finishes by outlining didactical consequences for fostering students’ ability to undertaking model analysis, a highly important component of the modelling competency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-36
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

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