Research in mathematics education and history of mathematics

The team addresses historical, epistemological and educational aspects of mathematics. The research focuses on the teaching and learning processes as well as on the pre-service and in-service development of mathematics teachers. The work of the team is characterized by a dialectic relationship between theory and practice: university scholars and school teachers collaborate in the design, implementation and and analysis of teaching interventions, as well as in the elaboration of analytical tools. The work is conceived in a long term perspective, with the aim of better understanding and improving the teaching and learning processes.

The research interests of the team may be organized around the following themes:

Theme A: research-based interventions in mathematics classrooms

  • First approach to mathematical argumentation in primary school, development of argumentative and proving competences in secondary school.
  • Approach to mathematical modelling and to the use of ICT in secondary school.

Concerning the first sub-theme, the research is aimed at developing of the model of rationality, derived from Habermas, as an analytical tool for studying argumentative processes (including conjecturing and proving).
The research related to the second sub-theme is aimed at designing and testing resources for teachers (worksheets, guides for teachers), which may help teachers to promote the intertwining between mathematics and other disciplines.

Theme B: research on pre-service and in-service professional development of mathematics teachers

  • Development of primary teachers, as mediators between mathematical competences (as identified by National Guidelines for Curricula) and the students’ everyday experiences.
  • Development of secondary teachers, as mediators of the cultural dimension of mathematics, its historical roots and its link with reality.

The theoretical construct of “rational behavior” is integrated with the construct of Cultural Analysis of the Content– Boero & Guala, 2008- to design and implement professional development interventions.

Theme C: research on the use of the history in the teaching of mathematics at secondary school level

  • Analysis of the cognitive, epistemological and educational potentialities of the use of historical texts for the teaching of probability in secondary school.

The research is aimed at implementing and validating a didactical approach that combines the historical tradition of the “Metodo” and research findings in mathematics education.


Paolo Boero
Giuseppe Canepa
Nadia Douek
Fulvia Furinghetti
Domingo Paola
Fabrizio Vannucci