A mathematical modelling as a means to detection student’s obstacles and difficulties related to the function concept: extension of a spring under a weight

Jose Benito Búa Ares, Teresa Fernández Blanco y Mª Jesús Salinas Portugal

Abstract:In this article we present a research about a mathematical modelling for the secondary school. Students start with a data table, it obtained experimentally by themselves, on the behavior of a spring subjected to a weight. From the data table and using the GeoGebra program, students obtain an analytical expression that relates the two variables (mass and length of the spring). After they obtained the model, students have to answer questions related to the mathematical model and the original extramathematical situation. The main objectives of the research are to show how students use their unserstanding about functions during the process to obtain the model and if students interpret the mathematical result in the context of the original extramathematical situation. The investigation results show it is possible obtain a mathematical model without the use of implicit mathematical knowledge and without the interpretation of the mathematical result in the original extramathematical situation.

Keywords: Modelling, functions, GeoGebra, lower secondary education, upper secondary education


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