Abstract. The purpose of this study was to investigate prospective middle school mathematics teachers’
perspectives about mathematical modeling tasks. Specifically, prospective teachers’ views about how
modeling tasks are differ from textbook problems was examined. Furthermore, what prospective teachers
think about how modeling tasks would reflect classroom learning environment and whether or not they
could be used in mathematics teaching were examined. A basic qualitative approach was utilized in the
study. Data were gathered through open-ended questionnaires at the end of the semester from 40
prospective middle school mathematics teachers who enrolled an elective modeling course. Data were
analyzed using content analysis. The findings of the study showed that prospective teachers initially did
not consider modeling tasks as mathematics problems. As compared to textbook problems, prospective
teachers indicated that mathematical modeling problems have many differences in terms problem structure and problem solving process. Prospective teachers stated that role of a teacher and students should be changed and formative assessment and evaluation methods should be utilized in a modeling-problem based environment. While majority of prospective teachers considered that modeling-based instruction was hard to implement because of time and classroom management, if it is accomplished it may well support many mathematical thinking skills. It is proposed that mathematical modeling problems should be integrated into formal mathematics lessons or elective courses.
Keywords: Textbook, Modeling tasks, Middle school, Prospective mathematic teachers.