Mathematics Education Research Journal

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 479–501 | Cite as

Experiencing teaching and learning quantitative reasoning in a project-based context

  • Tracey Muir
  • Kim Beswick
  • Rosemary Callingham
  • Katara Jade
Original Article


This paper presents the findings of a small-scale study that investigated the issues and challenges of teaching and learning about quantitative reasoning (QR) within a project-based learning (PjBL) context. Students and teachers were surveyed and interviewed about their experiences of learning and teaching QR in that context in contrast to teaching and learning mathematics in more traditional settings. The grade 9–12 student participants were characterised by a history of disengagement with mathematics and school in general, and the teacher participants were non-mathematics specialist teachers. Both students and teachers were new to the PjBL situation, which resulted in the teaching/learning relationship being a reciprocal one. The findings indicated that students and teachers viewed QR positively, particularly when compared with traditional mathematics teaching, yet tensions were identified for aspects such as implementation of curriculum and integration of relevant mathematics into projects. Both sets of participants identified situations where learning QR was particularly successful, along with concerns or difficulties about integrating QR into project work. The findings have implications for educators, who may need to examine their own approaches to mathematics teaching, particularly in terms of facilitating student engagement with the subject.


Project-based learning Quantitative reasoning Big Picture Engagement Motivation 


Compliance with ethical standards

Following ethical approval from the researchers’ institution and the Department of Education, all students were invited to participate in a survey and interview. Informed consent was obtained from the students and their parents.


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Copyright information

© Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia, Inc. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tracey Muir
    • 1
  • Kim Beswick
    • 1
  • Rosemary Callingham
    • 1
  • Katara Jade
    • 1
  1. 1.University of TasmaniaLauncestonAustralia

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