• What Is Known about Elementary Grades Mathematical Modelling

      Micah S. Stohlmann; Lluís Albarracín (Hindawi Limited, 2016-01-01)
      Mathematical modelling has often been emphasized at the secondary level, but more research is needed at the elementary level. This paper serves to summarize what is known about elementary mathematical modelling to guide future research. A targeted and general literature search was conducted and studies were summarized based on five categories: content of mathematical modelling intervention, assessment data collected, unit of analysis studied, population, and effectiveness. It was found that there were three main units of analysis into which the studies could be categorized: representational and conceptual competence, models created, and student beliefs. The main findings from each of these units of analysis are discussed along with future research that is needed.
    • Writing about the Personal Utility of Learning Contents in a Learning Journal Improves Learning Motivation and Comprehension

      Kristin Schmidt; Julia Maier; Matthias Nückles (Hindawi Limited, 2012-01-01)
      Reflecting on the personal utility and value of learning contents is important for motivation building and engagement in high quality learning processes. We investigated the effects of a personal-utility prompt in journal writing on students’ learning motivation and comprehension in biology education. 40 students of a German secondary school took part in a quasi-experimental field study. The students kept a weekly learning journal over six weeks. For writing their journal entries, the students received a brief instruction that either did or did not include a personal-utility prompt. Results showed that the personal-utility prompt successfully supported the students in reflecting about the personal utility of the learning contents. Consequently, students in the personal-utility prompt condition reported higher degrees of learning motivation and achieved better comprehension scores as compared to students who had no personal-utility prompt available. Evidently, using journal writing to reflect upon the utility and value of learning contents is a beneficial method to support students’ learning motivation and comprehension in secondary science education.