Practical guide for IBMT

MERIA Practical Guide for Inquiry Based Mathematics Teaching is based on collection of documentation related to good practices of inquiry based mathematics teaching (IBMT) of upper secondary mathematics such as teaching materials along with documentation of their use (methods, results), reports and articles on concrete development projects.

The Guide presents a practical introduction to the basic tenets of IBMT along with a series of 10-15 cases of IBMT (subject matter area, description of basic problem devolved to students, potential and evidence of student learning, etc.). The Practical guide for IBMT was developed by the University of Copenhagen as leading institution in cooperation with Utrecht University, University of Zagreb, National Education Institute of Slovenia, University of Ljubljana, Vordingborg Gymnasium and XV. Gymnasium.

The Guide can be downloaded from the menu on the right side.

From The Introduction:

This booklet presents the theoretical basis for the MERIA project, and is especially intended to support the design of scenarios and modules in the project, as well as the analysis and evaluation of their effects.

MERIA aims to further the use of relevant, interesting and applicable mathematical activities in secondary school classrooms. The main hypothesis of the project is that such activities engage students in more serious mathematical work than solving exercises with predefined methods. In fact, the “exercise paradigm” in many everyday practices of teaching mathematics (including upper secondary and even university courses) may be a main factor that shapes the common students’ impression of mathematics as uninteresting (tedious routine work), irrelevant (at least to them) and useless (except to pass an exam). The alternative proposed and pursued in this project can be roughly characterized as inquiry based mathematics teaching, where exercises are replaced by “inquiry activities” of various types. Designing such activities, testing them in practice and disseminating them to teachers, are thus our main tasks.

The project aims to be based on serious and visionary research on how to realize the aforementioned tasks. This is the reason why in this volume we have gathered a presentation of important approaches and ideas from the research literature. The volume is structured in four chapters:

  • Chapter 1 presents the general idea of “inquiry” in mathematics education, both from a historical point of view, and in terms of how it may be defined at present (in general and relatively broad terms).
  • Chapter 2 provides general strategies for implementing inquiry as a students’ activity in classrooms.
  • Chapter 3 and 4 present two more precise - and well established - research programmes for the design of inquiry based mathematics teaching:
    • The Theory of Didactical Situation in mathematics, which strives to put students in “research like situations” (akin to mathematicians): consisting of action, hypothesis formulation, and their validation/proof.
    • Realistic Mathematics Education, in which mathematical notions are built up from students’ work with problems in contexts that are “real” to them, through the “mathematisation” of those contexts.

References to the literature are provided throughout for those who wish to pursue a given point at greater depth than it was possible in the present volume. The appendix provides an outline of some of the most important references for this project. At the end of the handbook, a glossary of the most important special terms, employed in the text, is also provided.