Mathematics in STEM: Background role or lead actor?

Dorte Moeskær Larsen*, Mette Lindhardt Als Kristensen, Lars Dupont Seidelin, Connie Svabo

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Abstrakt

STEM is promoted as part of the solution to future societal challenges, to ensure a qualified workforce and develop responsible, science literate citizens (Bybee, 2018). The belief is that there might be hope for a more sustainable future if we focus more on integrated STEM at all school levels. For this reason STEM is promoted at policy levels and in practice. However, what hopes are there for Mathematics in STEM? What role does Mathematics play in STEM teaching activities? Will the role of Mathematics become even greater in school teaching or will it actually disappear in the way we know the subject today? These research questions are at the core of the research and development project LabSTEM. Theoretical Framework Mathematics is often recognized as the discipline underpinning many other disciplines, particularly in the Natural Sciences. At the same time, Mathematics plays an understated role in integrated STEM teaching (Maass et. al., 2019). Participant- and world-centered STEM seems to render Mathematics to the periphery. Research design To answer our research question, a systematic search of described STEM-courses was made. This study included a selection and reading of articles with a start of 4812 articles. Guided by different exclusion criteria and with explicit focus on clear descriptions of STEM activities, 37 articles were selected for in-depth qualitative analyses. These articles were analyzed and summarized and further synthesized to describe the 'role of mathematics'. Based on the literature studies, a heuristic was developed, which grasps the different ways in which mathematics can interplay in STEM. Findings The heuristic contains two distinct roles for the way mathematics relates to the other disciplines. Mathematics can be applied as a tool in the STEM activity or mathematics can be regarded as a specific goal. The heuristic contains various subcategories. In these cases, the other disciplines (STE) act as context for the learning of mathematics. Relevance to Nordic Educational Research Also in a Nordic context, STEM teaching is of growing importance. What will the role of Mathematics be in future Nordic classrooms? References Bybee, R. W. (2018). STEM education now more than ever. National Science Teachers Association. Maass, K., Geiger, V., Ariza, M. R., & Goos, M. (2019) The Role of Mathematics in interdisciplinary STEM education. ZDM 51, 869-884
OriginalsprogEngelsk
Publikationsdato2021
StatusAccepteret/In press - 2021

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