Productive struggle is an enigmatic concept in mathematics education. At first glance, the idea may be oxymoronic since the word struggle is not often associated with being productive. The two words may even seem counter-intuitive. The purpose of this article is to analyze productive struggle in the literature in order to better understand some if its essential features. The research method in this study is theoretical and includes a survey of relevant literature in mathematics and modelling education. This study attempts to explain the relationship between productive struggle and learning mathematics. Productive struggle can lead to enhanced mathematics understanding and sensemaking. Its role in enabling deeper and more flexible learning is set out. Findings suggest that productive struggle is underpinned by key elements such as the necessity for contextual tasks that enable multiple solutions and entry points. The type of tasks that engender productive struggle are discussed and finally, mathematical modelling is presented as an exemplar for tasks that encompass productive struggle.
"Productive Struggle in Mathematical Modelling,"
The Mathematics Enthusiast: Vol. 21
, Article 8.
Available at: https://scholarworks.umt.edu/tme/vol21/iss1/8
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
University of Montana, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library