Mathematical Modeling: A Structured Process

  • Mathematical Modeling: A Structured Process

    Cynthia Oropesa Anhalt and Ricardo Cortez
    A task about locating a lost cell phone illustrates the Common Core elements of mathematical modeling. An assessment rubric helps teachers evaluate student work critically.
    Mathematical modeling, in which students use mathematics to explain or interpret physical, social, or scientific phenomena, is an essential component of the high school curriculum. The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) classify modeling as a K–12 standard for mathematical practice and as a conceptual category for high school (CCSSI 2010, p. 7). CCSSM also describes mathematical modeling as “the process of choosing and using appropriate mathematics and statistics to analyze empirical situations, to understand them better, and to improve decisions” (CCSSI 2010, p. 72). The main goal of this article is to elaborate on the process of modeling as described by CCSSM, paying particular attention to the modeling elements. We highlight the practical aspects of modeling through a concrete example, carefully analyzing to make the process of mathematical modeling more accessible to teachers and students.