The purpose of this project is to identify, apply and refine teaching approaches that help secondary students learn how to use mathematics to solve real world problems via the processes of mathematical modelling. The study will investigate the factors, mathematical, cognitive, social and environmental, that "enable" Year 10/11 students to successfully begin the modelling process, that is, to develop mathematical representations of a real world problem. This research will generate new theoretical and practical insights into the role of these enablers in promoting successful modelling, the design of tasks that support students' development as modellers, and effective teaching approaches that promote student capability and interest in mathematics


The overarching aim of this project is to determine how to best support students in learning how to use mathematics to solve real world problems. The specific aims of the project are to:

  1. describe the nature of anticipatory metacognition and identify and describe the enablers necessary for students to translate real world situations into mathematical models;
  2. design tasks that support the development of students’ anticipatory metacognition or allow for the identification of issues that are problematic for that development; and
  3. develop, trial, and refine teaching practices that support the growth of students’ anticipatory metacognition while working on effective modelling tasks.

Chief Investigators

  • Professor Vince Geiger (ACU)
  • Professor Peter Galbraith (UQ)
  • Professor Mogens Niss (Roskilde University, Denmark)
  • Ass/Prof Gloria Stillman (ACU)
  • Dr Jill Brown (ACU)


  • Discovery Project $446,000



Industry Partner

  • Australian Research Council

Benefits of the Research

Benefits include successful student engagement in a range of school subjects, enhanced career options (e.g., STEM), informed participation in society, and international competitiveness in a world undergoing rapid technological and economic change. Outputs (e.g., publications, symposia) will aim to influence mathematics curricula and educational policy.


September 2020

Research Status



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