Does “context” only match with “Lower-level Math”?


Well, I am not going to ask you to solve nor to discuss the solution of the problem beside.

The question was taken from the ‘Examen Vwo‘ of Wiskunde B, a yearly math event in the Netherlands.

What I am going to show you from the picture is related to the title of this post, “Does context only match with lower level math?” which is rather be a common question, at least, by several Indonesian teachers. Furthermore, some of them used it as an excuse for not applying RME, CTL, or involve any context in their teaching of higher level math. As the consequence, most of our students feel less motivated in learning math since they did not find it useful for them.

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Dear Mathematician, don’t be too mechanistic! Be flexible! (A reflection)

This post is inspired by students’ (finalists of Kontes Literasi Matematika IV, Sriwijaya University) anwers to a question given by Prof. Dr. Zulkardi in the play-off session:

raja louis

Anwering this questions, two of the three finalists employed algebraic manipulation to find the answer. They argued that if Raja Louis X (10) has 16 wifes, then Raja Louis V (5) must have 8 wifes as it satisfied direct proportion.

Indeed, there should be no relation between the number of wifes a king has with its and its name order.

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Design of PMRI-based Mathematical Problems (English Version)



In order to make 6 portions of ‘es pisang ijo sauce’, the following ingredients are required:
– 1 litre of coconut milk
– 60 gram of tepung beras
– 100 gram of sugar
– 1/2 tea spoon of salt
– 1 piece of palm leave

Andi wants to make the sauce, and he has 10 litre of coconut milk, 100 gram of tepung beras, 1 kg of sugar, a lot of salt, 10 pieces of palm leave. How many portion of ‘es pisang ijo sauce’ he could make?

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Learning Percentage through Role-Playing ‘Surveyor-Respondent’

One of the very-closed mathematical concepts to us is percentage, of which the idea is represented in such common forms as discount, interest in bank, battery, polling result, and some other social activities. This familiarity would be a great potential to bridge students to learn the concept using PMRI (Pendidikan Matematika Realistik Indonesia) learning approach.

Therefore with, my friend and I have tried to design a set of activities to encourage students’ understanding regarding the concept. The design has been tried out to Grade V-E students of SD Pusri Palembang.

The first activity was conducted to identify how closed the concept of percentage to students is. To begin with, we showed a tagged paper ‘50%’ and asked the students where they use to meet such writing. Almost all the students answered ‘discount’. Several other answers like ‘battery’ and ‘polling result’ was also mentioned.

Capture quickcount
Representation of percents in real life

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Introducing Concept of Angles with RME Based Learning

Summary of:
Bustang, Zulkardi, Darmowijoyo, Dolk, M., van Eerde, D. (2013). Developing a local instruction theory for learning the concept of angle through visual field activities and spatial representations. International Education Studies, 6(8), 58-70. doi: 10.5539/ies.v6n8p58

The notoriety of geometry among Indonesian students as one of the hardest topics is not without proof. Studies found many misconceptions experienced by the students, especially in angle representation which might impact on their difficulties in learning geometry in the higher level.

In order to deal with the problem, Bustang has designed a four-step learning activitiy for teaching and learning the concept of angle. The design has been tried out to the third grade students of a public school in Palembang, Indonesia.

At first, the students were familiarized with the real situations involving vision lines and blind spots through an activity called ‘Now you see it, now you don’t’. Here, the students were provided with three problems related to a cat’s vision over a group of mice by representing the ‘top view’, ‘side view’, and additional case if cat do a ‘movement’.


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Addition and Subtraction up to 100 Using Empty Number Lines

Reflection on Paper:
Design Research on Addition and Subtraction Up to 100
Using Mental Arithmetic Strategies on an Empty Number Line
At the 2nd Grade of SDN Percontohan Komplek IKIP Jakarta
(Puspita Sari, Dede de Haan, Zulkardi, 2008)

Innumeracy problems experienced by many students nowadays might be caused by inappropriate approach in teaching algorithm in primary schools which seems to be premature and less contextual according to some experts. In order to deal with the problems, realistic approach involving mental arithmetic strategies is suggested in advance, that is, emphasising more on number values rather than number digits.

In case of teaching addition and subtraction to 2nd grade students, an empty number line – number line with no numbers on it – seems to fit the need since it could encourage students’ informal counting strategy to develop. The use of context as demanded in RME is highly required to stimulate a meaningful learning toward the students. For the research, the context applied was celebrating the 63rd Indonesian Independence Day, due to the current d-situation.

The Use of Empty Number Lines in Learning Implementation
1. Empty number line as a model of
In this part, the number line was introduced using a string of beads which was coloured alternately every ten beads, the length of which would be measured by students using a paper strip. This would smoothly redirect the students to think of empty number lines.number lines as model of

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