Steven Strogatz' wrote a blog post about what it was like to be a beginner at teaching through inquiry. This second part contains his experience of teaching a Mathematics Exploration class at Cornell University using ideas from "Discovering the Art of Mathematics":
Last fall, for the first time in my career, I tried a new way of teaching. Instead of lecturing, I gave my students puzzles and questions to explore together in small groups. What happened over the rest of that semester turned out to be the most astonishing, uplifting experience I’ve ever had as a teacher.
Steven Strogatz writes about what it was like to be a beginner at teaching through inquiry. This blog contains his impressions of the "Discovering the Art of Mathematics" workshop held at Cornell University in summer 2014:
"This experience gave me powerful insight into what it must be like for students in an IBL classroom. It made me realize the importance of providing a safe and nurturing space for the math explorers I was about to start working with in just a few days."
Often people ask me how to write inquiry activities so there must be some tricks that can be communicated. Together with Prof. Mairead Greene from Rockhurst University, I have been thinking about the questions we ask ourselves before, during and after writing tasks. Our intention is that these questions will help to inspire and guide others in creating good IBL activities in any mathematics course.
In my perfect world students would be self-motivated, want to learn, collaborate with other students, ask lots of questions, pursue mathematics outside of class requirements, etc. What then is needed to make this happen? I believe this independent learning I am looking for relies on student curiosity.
As the title of this blog post suggests I believe that inquiry helps tremendously in reaching learners on different levels at the same time - even if they all work on the same investigations. Why? First of all, students can work at their own pace.
Twice now I had the pleasure of teaching a learning community with an English composition class. And each time I was impressed by the peer review process that my colleague Jen DiGrazia used for all student papers. This blog will show you how we adapted the peer review process to improve proof writing.
Our website provides 11 learning guides. Which one(s) should you choose to give this inquiry-based approach a try…? Let me begin by telling you how I make choices about the materials. I like to go for what I love best and I usually mix materials from different books.
Do you think it is possible to teach calculus without ANY lecture? (or any other passive teaching method like watching videos, reading the book etc.) Well, I have been teaching calculus (I, II and III) for the last 7 semesters doing just that. And I love it.
In the first class I ask students to write their name on a notecard and to place it in front of them. At the end of class I collect the name tags and in the beginning of the next class, I will set them up again, likely in different places. I call this strategy one of the “control knobs” of an IBL instructor, because where and with whom the students work has a big influence on the effectiveness of their learning.
Think of the 5 coolest things you know in mathematics. Did you ever think about including them in your MLA course? You can, and perhaps should.
“Cool things” are short “mini presentations or activities” about a mathematical topic that is exciting to us and usually different from the math content that we are currently working on in class.
You’re ready to embrace inquiry-based learning (IBL) in your mathematics for liberal arts (MLA), or other general education courses, with the help of Discovering the Art of Mathematics (DAoM) materials. How do you get started?
Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) is an approach to teaching and learning in which the classroom environment is characterized by the student being the active participant while the teacher’s role is decentralized.
At least once a semester I ask my students to write a journal. My main goal of this assignment is to monitor students’ buy-in into my IBL classroom. How is IBL working for them? What is not working? What could they change to improve their learning? What can I change?
The majority of class time is spent with students actively engaged in process of mathematical inquiry. Written proofs and solutions that describe/document the students' work form a cornerstone of my assessment of their work in this class.
I want my students to learn how to write about their thinking. Therefore, my assignments have to be written in full sentences, explain everything in detail and convey the mathematical concepts. They can also contain the story of how the student discovered the solution, including all struggles and mistakes.
Students are actively engaged in making sense of mathematical investigations, on their own, in their group, and with the entire class. I share some ideas about assessing the students' level of participation in, and contribution to, the work in the class.