Published in Acta Didactica Napocensia, volume 3 number 2, 1 June 2010


Explorations in Elementary Mathematical Modeling

Mazen Shahin, Delaware State University, Delaware, U.S.A.


Abstract: In this paper we will present the methodology and pedagogy of Elementary Mathematical Modeling as a one-semester course in the liberal arts core. We will focus on the elementary models in finance and business. The main mathematical tools in this course are the difference equations and matrix algebra. We also integrate computer technology and cooperative learning into this inquiry-based learning course where students work in small groups on carefully designed activities and utilize available software to support problem solving and understanding of real life situations. We emphasize the use of graphical and numerical techniques, rather than theoretical techniques, to investigate and analyze the behavior of the solutions of the difference equations.

As an illustration of our approach, we will show a nontraditional and efficient way of introducing models from finance and economics. We will also present an interesting model of supply and demand with a lag time, which is called the cobweb theorem in economics. We introduce a sample of a research project on a technique of removing chaotic behavior from a chaotic system.

Key words: mathematical modeling, difference equations, cooperative learning, inquiry-based learning, cobweb theorem in economics.



Pages 89-100.         Download PDF


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