Interdisciplinary modeling instruction: Helping fifth graders learn about levers

Brandon Helding, Colleen Megowan-Romanowicz, Tirupalavanam Ganesh, Shirley Fang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


This chapter examines and comments on a brief teaching experiment in which fifth graders explored levers. The teacher-researcher employed modeling instruction (Hestenes, 1996), an inquiry based pedagogical approach that is widely utilized in high school physics instruction. The method relies on collaborative meaning making by students who work together in small groups on laboratory exercises or problems, whiteboard their findings and share and compare their thinking with other groups at "board meetings"-whole class discussions facilitated by the teacher-researcher. We analyze the teacher-researcher's choices in designing and managing the learning environment in this setting in an attempt to identify how this instructional method can best be used with students of this age and mathematical sophistication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationModeling Students' Mathematical Modeling Competencies
Subtitle of host publicationICTMA 13
PublisherSpringer US
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9781441905604
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010


  • Concept/Conceptual
  • Conceptual
  • Curriculum
  • Cycle
  • Education
  • Force Concept Inventory (FCI)
  • Graduate students
  • Habits of mind
  • Instruction
  • Learning environments
  • Materials
  • Mathematization
  • Middle school
  • Model
  • Realistic Mathematics Education (RME)
  • Scaffold
  • Scientific
  • Teaching experiments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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