How do we turn elements of everyday life or practical life problems into teachable moments? Associate Professor Ang Keng Cheng from the Mathematics and Mathematics Education academic group, together with two other researchers in his team, has created a new online teaching resource that does just that. Supported by a research grant from NIE, the online resource portal, www.mathmodelling.sg, was launched at the National Junior College on 4 September 2017.
Attended by more than 100 mathematics teachers from primary and secondary schools and junior colleges, the launch included talks by NIE academics, Associate Professor Lee Ngan Hoe and Associate Professor Ang Keng Cheng; sharing of mathematical modelling experiences by teachers; and a panel discussion on the teaching of mathematical modelling.
Dubbed as “Mathematical Modelling@SG”, the resource portal is available online for teachers who want to use mathematical modelling as a pedagogical approach in the mathematics classroom. It is the culmination of research work in mathematics education and research conducted by Associate Professor Ang. His specialisation is instrumental in putting together these resources that allows for applicable real-world problems to be studied using school mathematics.
The platform offers teachers the opportunity to learn and practice how to teach their students to solve real-world problems by representing these as mathematical problems. From exploring the theories to the practical problem-solving, teachers can bring excitement into teaching mathematics with their students acting like forensic scientists investigating a crime scene with just shoe prints or footprints.
Mathematical Modelling@SG also offers information that better defines the three fundamental modelling approaches namely, the Deterministic, Empirical and Simulation approaches. With deeper insights into these, teachers can then draw from everyday examples and apply the appropriate approach to each for a lesson in mathematics. The portal also features instructional videos, modelling examples and a platform where teachers can share what they have applied and how successful they were.
The next phase that Associate Professor Ang and his team hope to move on to will be to look at the possible efficacy of the pedagogical approaches from teachers’ and students’ perspectives. With content updates on a monthly basis, the team aims to make this a thriving online community for the teaching fraternity on how to make mathematics education relevant to their students’ lives.
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