Crests and Troughs: The Use of Trigonometric Modeling Towards a Critical and Realistic Mathematics Education

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Mathematics Education (Non-Thesis Option)



First Advisor

Catherine P. Vistro-Yu, PhD


Much has been said about the role of education in social reconstruction, i.e., the changing of society to better address issues of inequitable distribution of opportunity among different socioeconomic classes. Yet many mathematics classrooms still cling to the belief that high school mathematics is an apolitical area of knowledge whose real applications lie only in its potential to challenge the logical abilities of its students. Using lenses from critical mathematics education (CME) and realistic mathematics education (RME), the study makes use of lessons on technology-aided sinusoidal modeling to investigate the possible role that mathematics plays in shaping perspectives of 21 senior high school students of privileged backgrounds on select issues from the martial law era under Ferdinand Marcos (1972-1986). Pre-lesson focus group interviews, as well as measurements of the empathy quotient (Baron-Cohen et al., 2004), revealed that students entered classrooms not only with limited conceptions of mathematics in the real world, but also with difficulty in relating with the thoughts and feelings of others. Post-lesson interviews, however, showed more promise in encouraging students to use insights from mathematics lessons to engage in dialogue that leads to discerned action in challenging oppressive structures in society. Quantitative analysis of scores from a summative quiz further revealed that students who modeled with raw data perform better in interpreting results than students who were presented with pre-modeled best fit equations on the same set of data. v ACKNOWLEDGMENTS A. M. + D. G. The journey towards the completion of this study is not without its challenges.

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