ERIC Number: ED276443
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Oct
Reference Count: 0
Highlighting the Scientific Method through Mathematics Problems.
McGalliard, William A., Jr.
This paper argues that the introduction of the scientific method in the very rich environments of the natural sciences or human sciences may disguise the process and create difficulties for students because of the multiplicity of variables involved, whereas the variables present in a mathematical context can be readily manipulated and their numbers are easily controlled. Other advantages to modeling the scientific method in mathematics are identified as the analogy between the processes used in certain mathematical problems and the more generic processes of the scientific method, as many of the steps employed in obtaining solutions to problems pattern the behavior used in scientific investigation, e.g., simplification, keeping records and collecting data, looking for patterns, hypothesizing and testing, and finally generalizing. (It is pointed out that all of these activities are part of a more general process known as induction.) The characteristics of a model are juxtaposed with mathematics problems to demonstrate the value of using mathematics problems as a model for scientific inquiry, and several sample problems are worked through to demonstrate the process. It is concluded that such problems are particularly effective in leading students to practice induction in a manner similar to that used in scientific inquiry. (DJR)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Practitioners; Researchers
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Thinking across the Disciplines. ISII 1986. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the International Society for Individualized Instruction (15th, Atlanta, Georgia, October 9-11, 1986); see IR 012 493.