Experiencing Mathematical Modelling in an amusement park
This paper is meant to be a short report of a teaching experience of modelling carried out in Italy with high school students in an amusement park. Such an environment provides in fact numberless samples of curves such as parabolas, clothoids, straight lines. An amusement park is also a wonderful place where conics become visible and closer to the students’ previous experience, so that learning Maths involves experimenting models on the field, and where amusement and learning do successfully join together. On such a setting students may follow all the steps of the M&A cycle, also thanks to some particular mathematical instruments and “mathematical machines”, which lay a "bridge" between the domain of mathematics and the domain of reality.
This paper tries to describe the birth and the development of an original educational project, the way it was realized, and how it displays the typical features of a mathematical modelling process. This project has now become part of a set of educational workshops that the amusement park Mirabilandia offers to all schools.
At the end of the paper the authors provide their own reflections (and try to arouse the readers’) on the peculiar features that modelling in such a unique environment as an amusement park can present.
 Students aged 14 through 19
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