Riv. Mat. Univ. Parma, Vol. 14, No. 2, 2023

Johanna Schoenherr [a] and Stanislaw Schukajlow [b]

Does drawing help or hinder creativity when solving a modelling problem? Findings from an eye-tracking study

Pages: 233-248
Received: 19 April 2022
Accepted in revised form: 21 March 2023
Mathematics Subject Classification: 97C30, 97M99.
Keywords: Creativity, mathematical modelling, drawing, eye tracking.
Authors address:
[a],[b]: University of Muenster, Muenster, Germany

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Abstract: Solving a mathematical modelling problem is an activity that allows students to be creative. In the current study, we recorded the eye movements of two students while they solved a geometry modelling problem with instructions to make a drawing, and we conducted a stimulated recall interview (SRI). Using qualitative content analysis, we coded the gaze-overlaid videos and SRI with respect to students' modelling processes and their levels of usefulness, fluency, and originality. We found that the levels of originality and fluency varied during the modelling process, indicating that modelling processes involve creativity and that the final solution might not fully reflect students' creative processes as they work through a problem. In addition, we describe how constructing and using a drawing helped or hindered students being creative. Findings are discussed regarding future studies on creativity in mathematical modelling and implications for classroom practice.

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