Encyclopedia of Mathematics Education

Living Edition
| Editors: Steve Lerman

Complexity in Mathematics Education

  • Brent DavisEmail author
  • Pratim Sengupta
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-77487-9_28-3


Over the past half-century, “complex systems” perspectives have risen to prominence across many academic domains in the sciences, engineering, and the humanities. Mathematics was among the originating domains of complexity research. Education has been a relative latecomer, and so perhaps not surprisingly, mathematics education researchers have been leading the way in the field.

There is no unified definition of complexity, principally because formulations emerge from the study of specific phenomena. One thus finds quite focused definitions in such fields as mathematics and software engineering, more indistinct meanings in chemistry and biology, and quite flexible interpretations in the social sciences (cf. Mitchell 2009). Because mathematics education reaches across several domains, conceptions of complexity within the field vary from the precise to the vague, depending on how and where the notion is taken up. Diverse interpretations do collect around a few key...


Complexity theory Complexity modeling Design-based research Mathematical modelling Systems thinking 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Werklund School of EducationUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

Section editors and affiliations

  • Bharath Sriraman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mathematical SciencesThe University of MontanaMissoulaUSA