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How And What Mathematical Content Is Taught And Used By Engineer’s Students At Their Final Course Project?

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Issues and Solutions in Mathematics Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

15.647.1 - 15.647.8



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Paper Authors


Gisela Gomes Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie

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Dr. Gisela Hernandes Gomes is professor and researcher of Mathematics in the Engineering School at Mackenzie Presbyterian University, São Paulo, Brazil.

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Janete Bolite Frant Universidade Bandeirante

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Dr. Janete Bolite Frant is professor and researcher of Mathematics Education at Universidade Bandeirante do Brasil (UNIBAN), São Paulo, Brazil.

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Arthur Powell Rutgers University

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Dr. Arthur B. Powell, Jr. is Associate Professor of Mathematics Education in the Department of Urban Education at the Newark campus of Rutgers University, New Jersey, and Faculty Research Scientist and Associate Director of the Robert B. Davis Institute for Learning of the Graduate School of Education in New Brunswick.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

How and What Mathematical Content is Taught and Used by Engineering Students in their Final Course Project?


The purpose of this research was to investigate the transition from academic mathematics to real-life, engineering situations. In particular, through a case study, we investigate what mathematics content Brazilian undergraduate engineering students at private university use in order to develop their final course project. Theoretically, we use aspects of mathematical thinking raised in the literature reviewed. The methodological approach includes phases of grounded theory. Data collection included students’ written documents as well as videotaped interviews with students and their professors. Results revealed that to accomplish their projects students relied engaged in mathematical modeling and used specific software. Moreover, students showed that they were able to cope with mathematical situations that were not taught in their engineering courses.


Mathematics as a service subject – Math in engineering courses

The question of what mathematics should be taught in undergraduate engineering courses is nowadays a concern of both engineering education researchers and professors of engineering. This concern is evident in recent professional conferences and research studies, in Brazil and abroad. For instance, the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and the Société Européenne pour la Formation des Ingénieurs (SEFI) have devoted considerable attention to engineering education. In Brazil, the Program for Engineering Development (PRODENGE) and the Brazilian Association of the Engineering Education (ABENGE) have sponsored conferences and debates on engineering education.

It is important to note, however, attention to the education of engineers in mathematics have been a topic of concern for mathematics educators, professors and researchers since the creation of the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction (ICMI) in 1908. Even before, in 1907, topical discussions occurred between mathematicians and engineers at the Chicago Symposium on Mathematics for Engineering Students. The following has been the recurring question of these meetings: What mathematics should be taught to engineering students? This question still deserves attention nowadays.

The essential tension that this question raises was outlined in 1912 by White1 in Cambridge at the V International Congress of Mathematicians. In his paper, he discussed the role of mathematics for the practice of engineering. He emphasized that a distinction between the professionals of two branches of knowledge: on the one hand, mathematicians teach engineering students using a scientific point of view, building theories and rules relevant to the practice of engineering; on the other hand, engineers

Gomes, G., & Bolite Frant, J., & Powell, A. (2010, June), How And What Mathematical Content Is Taught And Used By Engineer’s Students At Their Final Course Project? Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16911

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