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Assessing science students' attitudes to mathematics: a case study on a modelling project with mathematical software

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Abstract:

This article reports the attitudes of students towards mathematics after they had participated in an applied mathematical modelling project that was part of an Applied Mathematics course. The students were majoring in Earth Science at the National Taiwan Normal University. Twenty-six students took part in the project. It was the first time a mathematical modelling project had been incorporated into the Applied Mathematics course for such students at this University. This was also the first time the students experienced applied mathematical modelling and used the mathematical software. The main aim of this modelling project was to assess whether the students' attitudes toward mathematics changed after participating in the project. We used two questionnaires and interviews to assess the students. The results were encouraging especially the attitude of enjoyment. Hence the approach of the modelling project seems to be an effective method for Earth Science students.

Keywords: anxiety; beliefs; enjoyment; modelling; usefulness

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00207390802566931

Affiliations: 1: School of Biomolecular and Physical Sciences, Griffith University, Brisbane, QLD, Australia 2: Department of Mathematics, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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