Mathematical
Discovery Process through Modeling Activity in Spreadsheet Environments
Heechan Lew hclew@knue.ac.kr
HongChan SON
hongcson@naver.com
Mathematics Education Korea National University of Education South Korea
Abstract
Mathematical modeling is the process to represent realworld
situations through mathematics. Modeling a wide variety of phenomena
makes students realize the power of mathematics and understand the real
world better. For this reason modeling activity gets becoming more
important in mathematics education. Students in modeling activity need
to make and use representational forms which describe mathematical
ideas and situations. With technology, students can create a diverse
set of representations and explore various situations more easily. As
one of the technologies, spreadsheet creates symbolic, numerical, and
graphical representations and makes connections among them. These
functions help students understand realworld situations deeply. The
aim of this study is to explore the mathematical discovery of six 10th
grade Korean students through modeling activities in spreadsheet
environments. They investigated modeling problems with the spreadsheet,
which seem to be very difficult to solve in the inactive paper and
pencil environments. In spreadsheet environments, it is easy for
students to list various variables on the sheets and form a data table
by inputting and copying spreadsheet formulas. And the graphs can be
easily drawn from the tables. In this study these functions of
spreadsheet played an important role in modeling activity. This study
shows the results of classroom activities in which students focused on
patterns and regularities rather than on isolated pieces of
information, and finally discovered the mathematical invariance
underlying the problems by operating data tables and using 'what if'
strategy.
