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Unformatted text preview: 48 5IF!+PVSOBM!PG!4FDPOEBSZ! (JGUFE!&EVDBUJPO JSGE . odel-Eliciting Activities (MEAs) were initially created in the mid 1970s by mathematics educators (Chamberlin, 2002; Lesh, Hoover, Hold, Kelly, & Post, 2000; Lesh & Lamon, 1992). These activities have also been called Case Studies for Kids and Thought Revealing Activities, but in this article Model- Eliciting Activities will be used to refer to them, because this name is the one currently being used by most MEA developers and because the name best explicates the math- ematical goals of the activities. MEA developers had two objectives in mind when they created MEAs. First, MEAs would encourage students to create mathematical models to solve complex problems, just as applied mathematicians do in the real world (Lesh & Doerr, 2003). Second, MEAs were designed to enable researchers to investigate students mathematical think- inga task endorsed by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM; 2000) and leading math edu- cators (Hiebert et al., 1997; Wood, Merkel, & Uerkwitz, 1996). MEAs have the potential to develop mathematical talent, because they engage students in complex mathe- matical tasks similar to the tasks that applied mathemati- cians complete. It is the thesis of this paper that MEAs may be used to accomplish a third goal, which is to develop and iden- tify students who are creatively gifted in mathematics. The paper begins by defining mathematical creativity. We then describe MEAs in some detail, and interwoven into the description of MEAs is a discussion of the potential of these activities for developing mathematical creativity. Finally, we suggest a role for MEAs in identifying creatively gifted mathematicians, using tools such as the Quality Assurance Guide (Lesh et al., 2000) and the Ways of Thinking Sheets (Chamberlin, 2004). $SFBUJWJUZ!BOE!.BUIFNBUJDT There are many definitions and theories of creativity (Fishkin, Cramond, & Olszewski-Kubilius, 1999; Starko, 1995; Sternberg, 1999). There is also considerable debate about whether creativity consists primarily of domain-gen- eral processes, such as divergent thinking, or of domain- .PEFM/&MJDJUJOH!"DUJWJUJFT!BT!B!5PPM! UP!%FWFMPQ!BOE!*EFOUJGZ!$SFBUJWFMZ! (JGUFE!.BUIFNBUJDJBOT ! 4DPUU!"/!$IBNCFSMJO! 4JEOFZ!./!.PPO ! 6OJWFSTJUZ!PG!8ZPNJOH! 1VSEVF!6OJWFSTJUZ This article addresses the use of Model-Eliciting Activities (MEAs) as a (curricular) tool to develop mathematical creativity and identify students who are creatively gifted in mathematics. The thesis of this article is that by using MEAs, gifted edu- cators can: (a) provide students with opportunities to develop creative and applied mathematical thinking; and (b) analyze students mathematical thinking when engaged in creative mathematical tasks, aiding in the identification of those students who are especially talented in domain-specific, mathematical creativity. The authors conclude that MEAs have potential for both developing and identifying creatively gifted mathematicians in the middle grades.both developing and identifying creatively gifted mathematicians in the middle grades....
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