Authentic Contexts in STEM Eeducation: Mathematics

Simpson Paradoxon

Recently, the corona pandemic showed us how extensively medications have tobe tested in clinical trials before they are made accessible for all. In a double-blind trial to treat a serious disease, 80 of 160 patients receive a new drug and the remaining 80 receive a placebo. You’ll find the results of the clinical trial in the tables below. If you were a doctor, would you prescribe the drug to your patients or not?







AC in this Example

Characteristics of AC

How to use AC in STEM Ed

The question of whether or not to take a medication has recently become a very prominent topic in our society. It is important to note that studies disseminated via social media can often be intentionally misleading, especially when interpreted by the general public. This assignment clearly shows how the deliberately unreflective use of statistics can be used to promote one's own interests.

Authentic Contexts are characterized as follows:

  • Authentic contexts are curricular topics integrated in tasks about real world problems that are meaningful to students.
  • These tasks should gain the student’s attention, increase their interests and willingness to learn.
  • Several different competences should be needed to solve the task.
  • The relevance of STEM-skills to solve the task should be evident
  • The benefit of collaboration between students should be clear.



Generic tasks should be used, i.e., tasks which product might be an outcome in the real world (of work) or, at least, are similar in such a way that it illustrates how real world (of work) problems are solved.

Optionally, these tasks include…
... employment of digital resources.
… descriptions of STEM - job profiles connected to this task.
… project based learning!


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