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ERIC Number: EJ790569
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 10
ISSN: ISSN-0045-0685
Making Mathematics and Science Relevant through Story
Darby, Linda
Australian Mathematics Teacher, v64 n1 p6-11 2008
Inquiries into the state of mathematics and science education in Australia express the need to make the curriculum more relevant and meaningful to students' lives. However, such a vision requires that teachers understand how relevance can enter mathematics and science classrooms in meaningful and appropriate ways. This paper uses snippets from classroom practice to explore how six mathematics and/or science teachers attempted to make the subject matter meaningful for their students by presenting a humanised and relevant subject. The paper asks the questions: (1) how is relevance thought of in mathematics as compared with science?; and (2) what problems might this pose for teachers moving between mathematics and science? The attempts of the teachers are referred to as "stories" or "narratives" because it was through discussions about stories that many of these ideas emerged from the teachers. Various qualitative methods were used over eighteen months to periodically observe, video-record and interview six secondary science and/or mathematics teachers. Results indicate that all teachers believed it was important to relate the content matter to students' lives. However, they seemed to approach this issue of relevance differently, both in practice and in their stated beliefs about what it means to teach effectively. Four types of pedagogical approaches were found to be representative of how the teachers recognised what needed to be made meaningful and relevant and how this could be portrayed for students. These were labelled as categories of meaning making. Mathematics and science are presented differently in each category, and the stories serve to focus on different aspects of both the subject matter and the place that this has in students' lives.
Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT). GPO Box 1729, Adelaide, 5001, South Australia. Tel: +61-8-8363-0288; Fax: +61-8-8362-9288; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia