The education 363 course at Claremont Graduate University developed my understanding of mathematical modeling. During the course we investigated the realities of incorporating a strong emphasis on the mathematical practice of modeling with mathematics. The main goal of the course was to develop, write, field test, and report on a modeling project in our classroom.
The modeling project that I conducted involved weigh loss. I provided my students with my current weight of 230 pounds and stated the desire to reach my ideal weight of 190 pounds. The challenge that I presented my students with was to develop a weight loss plan for me that could help me reach my desired goal. The project lasted five days, students were provided with the opportunity to research the topic, and to create a power point presentation and present their findings. A presentation scoring rubric was used to grade the student presentations, which was completed by their classmates. At the end of the project, students were asked to complete a reflection on their experience and opinion of the project.
The course increased my educational content knowledge since I became familiar with the literature regarding mathematical modeling, and experienced first hand the difficulties and benefits of modeling projects. Before completing this project, I was hesitant in the idea or benefit of incorporating mathematical modeling in the classroom since I like to structure the learning outcomes within my students. I felt that with modeling projects it was difficult to control the learning outcomes and that too much time was allocated in the research and very little grade level mathematics was accomplished. After completing this project, I can honestly say that my students proved me wrong. Throughout the project they engaged in meaningful mathematical conversations and I was impressed by their technological knowledge. My students and I enjoyed the project, and my perspective of mathematical modeling was positively affected as a result of this course assignment.