Textbook Analysis on Optimization in Pre-university Educational Levels

Abstract Mathematical optimization is an essential concept to manage everyday problems. In the Pre-University Spanish Curriculum, the tools for Mathematical Analysis are used to solve optimization problems. It is exactly in this process where the main teaching difficulties appear. In this article, we present the results of an epistemological study in the evolution of optimization throughout the history of the notion, aiming at fixing the meanings of reference. Then, the notion of optimization is presented in three textbooks, being developed in order to obtain the meaning of this notion in the classroom as well as the potential difficulties the students may find in the concept.