Embodied Phenomenology in Mathematical Modelling of Sailing for Integrated STEM Learning

  • Celil EkiciEmail author
  • Cigdem Alagoz
Part of the International Perspectives on the Teaching and Learning of Mathematical Modelling book series (IPTL)


Mathematical modelling is under-investigated in complex learning environments where embodied knowledge is a natural and essential part of learning, such as sailing. Mathematical modelling is used here as an ongoing process in building and testing models by the participants to make sense of their sailing practices. We demonstrate how a culturally responsive modelling practice can build on learners’ experiences, their funds of knowledge, and existing practices as young sailors. Participants’ embodied knowledge of sailing is used in modelling of tacking to travel towards the wind. Participants engage in experimental and active mathematical modelling of sailing in its own lifeworld in this integrated STEM learning context. We demonstrate and discuss how an embodied phenomenology approach works as learners go through modelling phases from understanding the tacking problem to validating their models.


Aerodynamics Culturally responsive pedagogy Embodied phenomenology Funds of knowledge Interdisciplinary Mathematical modelling STEM learning Hydrodynamics Sailing 



The authors thank the St. Croix Yacht Club and Hanley Family for facilitating modelling activities with sailboats. Partial support was given by the National Science Foundation Grant No. 1355437.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mathematics and StatisticsTexas A&M University-Corpus ChristiCorpus ChristiUSA
  2. 2.Division of Research and AnalysisTexas Education AgencyAustinUSA

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