Scaffolding practices for modelling instruction in STEM-related contexts: insights from expert and novice teachers

Hans Stefan Siller, Ortal Nitzan-Tamar, Zehavit Kohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mathematical modelling (MM) plays a pivotal role in the integration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) into school studies. This current empirical study suggests using a four-step solution plan as a scaffolding tool during the instruction of MM tasks in a STEM context in formal school mathematics. The study goals are twofold; first to recognise MM-oriented scaffolding practices of teachers during observations of their instruction of MM tasks. Second, to explore the differences in type and quantity of the recognised scaffolding practices, while comparing MM task instruction in a STEM context of expert and novice teachers. Using a multiple case study design, we conducted an in-depth study of MM scaffolding practices implemented during instruction of three MM tasks in a STEM context (the ‘Mobileye’, ‘Gamma correction’, and ‘GPS’ MM tasks) taught by three expert teachers and five novice teachers, in a total of five lessons for each group. Findings revealed three types of practices to support a particular solution plan step, enact the transition between solution plan steps, and motivate students' MM learning. A similar distribution of practices between expert and novice teachers was revealed, while support in each step of the solution plan was evident to all, especially during the mathematical search step. The study provides a perspective on the necessary practices that may take place in modelling instruction in a STEM context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1351-1364
Number of pages14
JournalZDM - International Journal on Mathematics Education
Issue number7
StatePublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).


FundersFunder number
Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg


    • Instruction
    • Mathematical modelling
    • STEM
    • Scaffolding


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