MERIA – Conflict Lines: Experience with Two Innovative Teaching Materials
The design of inquiry-based tasks and problem situations for daily mathematics teaching is still a challenge. In this article, we study the implementation of two tasks as part of didactic scenarios for inquiry-based mathematics teaching, examining teachers’ classroom orchestration supported by these scenarios. The context of the study is the Erasmus+ project MERIA – Mathematics Education: Relevant, Interesting and Applicable, which aims to encourage learning activities that are meaningful and inspiring for students by promoting the reinvention of target mathematical concepts. As innovative teaching materials for mathematics education in secondary schools, MERIA scenarios cover specific curriculum topics and were created based on two well-founded theories in mathematics education: realistic mathematics education and the theory of didactical situations. With the common name Conflict Lines (Conflict Lines – Introduction and Conflict Set – Parabola), the scenarios aim to support students’ inquiry about sets in the plane that are equidistant from given geometrical figures: a perpendicular bisector as a line equidistant from two points, and a parabola as a curve equidistant from a point and a line. We examine the results from field trials in the classroom regarding students’ formulation and validation of the new knowledge, and we describe the rich situations teachers may face that encourage them to proceed by building on students’ work. This is a crucial and creative moment for the teacher, creating opportunities and moving between students’ discoveries and the intended target knowledge.
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