A Model Eliciting Framework For Integrating Mathematics And Robotics Learning

David Nutchey


Robotics is taught in many Australian ICT classrooms, in both primary and secondary schools. Robotics activities, including those developed using the LEGO Mindstorms NXT technology, are mathematics-rich and provide a fertile ground for learners to develop and extend their mathematical thinking. However, this context for learning mathematics is often under-exploited. In this paper a variant of the model construction sequence (Lesh, Cramer, Doerr, Post, & Zawojewski, 2003) is proposed, with the purpose of explicitly integrating robotics and mathematics teaching and learning. Lesh et al.’s model construction sequence and the model eliciting activities it embeds were initially researched in primary mathematics classrooms and more recently in university engineering courses. The model construction sequence involves learners working collaboratively upon product-focussed tasks, through which they develop and expose their conceptual understanding. The integrating model proposed in this paper has been used to design and analyse a sequence of
activities in an Australian Year 4 classroom. In that sequence more traditional classroom learning was complemented by the programming of LEGO-based robots to ‘act out’ the addition and subtraction of simple fractions (tenths) on a number-line. The framework was found to be useful for planning the sequence of learning and, more importantly, provided the participating teacher with the ability to critically reflect upon robotics technology as a tool to scaffold the learning of mathematics.


mathematics; robotics; model eliciting; number line

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.46517/seamej.v3i1.24


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