Realistic Mathematics Education (RME)

What is Realistic Mathematics Education?

The features of RME include the following.

  • Use of realistic situations to develop mathematics
  • Well researched activities encourage pupils to move from informal to formal representations
  • Less emphasis on algorithms, more on making sense
  • Use of 'guided reinvention'
  • Progress towards formal ideas seen as a long-term process

Introductory video to supporting textbooks

Making Sense of Maths materials were developed by a team from MEI and Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), and are based on the Realistic Mathematics Education (RME) approach, which is the result of over 30 years of research and is currently being used to great success internationally and around the UK. This approach supports the move from modular to linear specifications by improving knowledge retention. The teaching materials were in turn developed into the textbook series.

Please use the links below to navigate to videos created by some of the educators, including Stella Dudzic, giving insight and background into the development and progression from resources to textbooks:

Short Introduction
Full Introduction
Resources 1: Number Lines
Resources 2: Area Model for Multiplication
Resources 3: Ratio Tables and Summary
Interviews with the authors of Making Sense of Maths textbooks


More about Realistic Mathematics Education

Originally developed in the Netherlands, this approach to equipping students with problem solving skills has been used successfully for many years in other countries. A major collaboration took place between the Freudenthal Institute (FI) and the University of Wisconsin to produce the Mathematics in Context (MiC) curriculum. This curriculum was purchased by Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) in 2003, leading to a major curriculum development project funded by the Gatsby Foundation. This curriculum was trialled initially in Manchester and later in other schools in the UK. Many of these schools then volunteered to participate in developing RME materials for KS4 students.

MEI supports the ideas underpinning RME and would like to see them applied more widely across all age ranges. We commissioned the Centre for Evaluating and Monitoring (CEM) at Durham University as independent evaluator of the projects at MMU. The evaluation was designed to gather evidence on the impact of the projects and the extent to which they are achieving their aims.


Please see the documents below for more information:

Introduction to Realistic Mathematics Education and how it facilitates learning mathematics
The Freudenthal Institute and research into Realistic Mathematics Education
Using Realistic Mathematics Education in UK Classrooms
Evaluation of RME project at Manchester Metropolitan University



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