Analysing the mathematical activity in a modelling process from the cognitive and onto-semiotic perspectives

Carlos Ledezma, Vicenç Font*, Gemma Sala

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this article is to carry out a work of networking theories which combines two perspectives on the mathematical activity involved in a modelling process, in order to answer the following question: To what extent does the application of the onto-semiotic tools complement the analysis from a cognitive perspective of a mathematical modelling process? To this end, we considered two theoretical frameworks: on the one hand, the onto-semiotic approach, which provides tools for the analysis of any mathematical activity and which here we applied to the activity of modelling; on the other hand, the modelling cycle from a cognitive perspective, which is a reflection on the specific mathematical activity of modelling. Then, we took a modelling problem that we applied to prospective mathematics teachers (at undergraduate and postgraduate level), and we analysed it from the perspective of both frameworks, in order to identify concordances and complementarities between these two ways of analysing the mathematical activity involved in the modelling process. The main conclusion is that both frameworks complement each other for a more detailed analysis of the mathematical activity that underlies the modelling process. Specifically, the analysis with the tools provided by the onto-semiotic approach reveals the phases or transitions of the modelling cycle as a conglomerate of mathematical practices, processes, and the primary objects activated in these practices.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages27
JournalMathematics Education Research Journal
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2022


  • Analysis of mathematical activity
  • Mathematical modelling
  • Networking of theories
  • Onto-semiotic analysis


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