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Exploring Mathematical Modeling With Young Learners

Jennifer M. Suh, Megahn H. Wickstrom, and Lyn English
Publication Date: 
Number of Pages: 
[Reviewed by
Blain Patterson
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Exploring Mathematical Modeling with Young Learners is a collection of articles that focus on the nature of mathematical modeling in the early grades from both teaching and learning perspectives edited by Jennifer M. Suh, Megan H. Wickstrom, and Lyn D. English. Mathematical modeling provides a unique opportunity to engage elementary students in the creative process of mathematizing their world. A diverse community of internationally known researchers and practitioners share studies that advance the field Experts in the field provide commentaries that extend and connect ideas presented across chapters. This book is an invaluable resource in illustrating what all young children can achieve with mathematical modeling and how we can support teachers and families in this important work.
This book is organized into four parts, focusing on the following four themes: the nature of mathematical modeling in the early grades, content knowledge and pedagogy for mathematical modeling, students’ experiences as modelers, and teacher education and professional development in modeling. Each of these sections blends theory and practice in a way that is useful to both researchers and practitioners.
Part I (Nature of Mathematical Modeling in the Early Grades) sets the stage by convincing the reader that not only is mathematical modeling possible for young children, but that it actually can lead to higher level reasoning and problem solving skills. In Part II (Identifying the Knowledge of Content and Pedagogy Needed for Mathematical Modeling in the Elementary Grades), authors describe what both teachers and students need to know in order for young learners to engage in mathematical modeling.
The goal of Part III (Mathematical Modeling and Students’ Experiences as Modelers) is to provide a concrete idea of what mathematical modeling looks like in the elementary grades through studies that analyze students’ perceptions and understanding of mathematics. Finally, in Part IV (Interdisciplinary and Community-Based Modeling), experts discuss mathematical modeling pedagogy as it relates to other learners, such as pre- and in-service teachers.
Exploring Mathematical Modeling with Young Learners may be recommended for both those conducting research in mathematical modeling pedagogy as well as elementary teachers who would like to incorporate mathematical modeling in their classroom. This could also be used as a supplemental textbook for a graduate-level mathematics education student studying elementary mathematics education. In any case, this book provides the reader with a broad overview of the major issues and challenges facing the field of teaching and learning mathematical modeling to young learners.


Dr. Blain Patterson ( is an Assistant Professor of Applied Mathematics at the Virginia Military Institute. His research focuses on teacher content knowledge as well as improving teaching and learning in undergraduate mathematics classrooms.