David Webb - Executive Director of Freudenthal Institute US and Associate Professor of Mathematics Education, University of Colorado Boulder
At its core, RME is a set of principles for curriculum design. It is sensible, then, to seek common ground in mathematics and the sciences for ideas upon which we can design curriculum. Some of that common ground is found in how we reason in math and science, and Webb offered these four activities:
- Recognition of patterns
- Making conjectures from observation
- Reasoning from evidence
- Generating new evidence
From these, we can think about how we consider the acts of modeling, problem solving, generalizing, and proving in both math and science. There are similarities and differences, and these things are meant as a starting point, not a definitive list. Perhaps the most fundamental RME principle is that of progressive formalization (see here for an example), so we must also think about how informal contexts can be used in both math and science, as well as the preformal models and representations that support more formal kinds of student thinking. Webb encouraged us to consider these RME traditions as we stretched ourselves beyond our usual disciplines, and with that the conference was underway.