Development of prospective elementary teachers' mathematical modelling competencies and conceptions

W. Tidwell, C. O. Anhalt, R. Cortez, B. R. Kohler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines prospective elementary teachers' growth and development of competencies, conceptions, and perceptions of mathematical modelling in a mathematics content course for elementary teachers. A series of lessons were implemented that engaged students in the modelling process through modelling tasks. The goal was to capture prospective teachers' thoughts and perceptions on the meaning of mathematical modelling and their conceptions of teaching and learning modelling at the elementary and middle school level. The research questions were: (1) How do prospective teachers translate the mathematical modelling cycle into their practice of doing modelling? and (2) How do prospective teachers' conceptions of modelling and teaching and learning modelling evolve throughout the implementation of a series of mathematical modelling lessons? Data sources included posters, modelling reports, responses to a pre- and post-intervention questionnaire, and semi-structured interview dialogue. Data analyses included mixed methods using provisional coding, open coding, and a categorical rubric. Findings from this study indicate that (1)Prospective elementary teachers translated the modelling cycle into their practice by developing their range of modelling competencies including multiple components of the modelling cycle, and (2) They developed a professionally appropriate conception of mathematical modelling along with productive perceptions of the benefits of teaching and learning modelling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2176-2196
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2023


  • Elementary teacher education
  • mathematical modelling
  • prospective teachers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mathematics (miscellaneous)
  • Education
  • Applied Mathematics


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