The images and videos in the Art of Mathematics media library showcase the active student involvement in our classrooms and the decentralized role of the instructor. You can browse the most recent images and videos shown below or search for specific examples of student activities, e.g. search for "Pick's Theorem" in videos to watch a small group of students investigating the areas of polygons on a geoboard.
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Multiple search terms will be joined with AND by default. You can also enter OR to widen your search, e.g. searching for maypole OR salsa will return all results containing either maypole or salsa. To reset or clear the search, delete all terms and click update again.Showing 25 - 48 of 66 videos.
Perhaps the best way to understand the depth and powerful impact of our project is to read what the students have to say about their experiences. The following student quotes, collected during the project, are typical responses received as part of student journals, essays and reflections.
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I always knew that I would see science or art or literature in real life, but no math class ever taught me that I would see mathematics in real life. Even now I catch myself seeing fractals or hearing about math things in songs.
As a student at Westfield State University, this course has had a profound impact on me. I have always had trouble with math and it has helped me look at it in a different light. It is now possible for me to look at mathematics as an art and something that is worth to explore.
Instead of falling asleep listening to lectures I was able to solve problems and make conjectures.
Math Explorations was undoubtedly the strangest and most enjoyable math class I have ever been enrolled in. I was engaged throughout the entire class and for once in my life not dreading math class when it came around.
Like I said before, I have hated math my entire life. I never had a love of math, not once in my life. I can sit here and say taking Mathematical Explorations, and the proofs we learned and the concrete material may never change my life. However, the way I was taught will affect me for the rest of my life.
…We were never told the cookie cutter way of finding an answer. We struggled, using trial and error and our own thoughts to find the answer to the problem. Yes, it was insanely frustrating. I cannot tell you how many times I wanted to throw my notebook out the window, or at my teacher (sorry Professor, it’s the truth). However, when I finally figured out the answer to the problem, I have never felt smarter. Here I was in math class, a subject I feared my entire life, feeling invincible. That’s right, invincible. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was fighting for my education. That is how you feel when you’re really learning.
In mathematics in the United States today, the focus is more of throwing a ton of information of steps and procedures for solving certain math problems and, completely disengages students from exploring solutions to problems on their own through experimentation and observing data to independently create a solution… School boards have completely made math a subject of throwing information at students, using the information to solve a problem step by step, expecting students to memorize the given steps for every type of possible problem for multiple subjects, and then determine a student’s future of continuing education on their ability to memorize all the tedious steps they were told.
…Math is no longer a student-engagement subject. Students are not give the time or encouraged to experiment with a math problem and find patterns for solving it.
…It is very difficult for me to look at a non-basic math problem and be able to know exactly what I have to do to solve it because, I have no personal experience of figuring out how to handle the type of problem through my own understanding.
…[In this course] I was encouraged and guided to engage in making the discoveries and understandings for myself. The techniques for how I found my solutions were very clear to me because, I was the one who found a pattern and applied the pattern to generate the solution. I have gained my own personal experience with mathematics that has changed my view on the subject completely.
I came home one weekend and I was discussing with my mother (She's and elementary teacher.) about your rule of answering a math problem in a complete sentence. I thought that was ridiculous and tedious. My mother then went on to explain that that is how math is being taught today. I finally understood your expectations from that point on.
From Math Is Still and Unnecessary Evil: "As you can see by the title of my paper, my feelings towards math have not really changed since the beginning of the semester...Maybe I'll try being a little more open-minded when it comes to my next math class.
When this class first started I thought I was going to run into the same problem I've always had with college math courses. I have gone into my past two math courses with a good attitude each time. By the end of a month each of the classes I had practically given up in...I love this class, I can't say enough about it.
This course challenged me to think in ways that I don't usually think, and it helped open my eyes to the world of math. It actually seems interesting.
I will sort of miss this class -- most of the chapters of the book are interesting -- I'll keep the book for the fun of it.
Math intimidates so many people, including myself, because of the way it has been taught in previous years and not one of my math teachers before now has asserted that it's not that hard if you take your time and not to move on until you're sure you understand. In my mind, the mathematical dogma and attitude from teachers that didn't seem to care if I really understood killed it for me.
I feel (although I shouldn't) that I have to prove to you and myself that I can do this and that I'm as smart as we think I am...This is what the class is about; writing math out and even if Einstein was in this class he'd be in the library with me for three hours so I'm going to get back to it now.
I've never had an affinity for math and I was so surprised by how easily I understood all the concepts we went over during the semester. I think that if all math classes were taught in the systematic and comprehensible way that this one was there wouldn't be so many people that don't like math...What I thought was really great was the fact that my mother, who teaches fourth grade, got some ideas from the text how to teach certain themes to her students in concrete terms they could understand.
I have to admit, I have never had a class like this, where learning is the most important factor.
I've done more math in this class than all of high school.
Deep down inside I know that I am a math struggler and this was by far the most that I have ever comprehended. Thank you, I had fun!
I described math to my family and they could not believe that I was actually enjoying the class. Because they know that I have had math phobia since sixth grade.
As the semester is about to end, the many weeks that I spent in your class were very educational, yet stress free. I have worked hard, like you said we would, but I feel that I really do understand the material and think that maybe all these years that I dreaded math and thought I was not good in it have changed.
No one had to be shy about asking questions and if you helped out a fellow student you felt smart, like you had learned something in a math class.
This course has gotten rid of my cynical point of view about math and taught me that it can be a beautiful subject.
I used to think that mathematics was all about adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing numbers and letters and that I would never have any real use for it at all. This class has really made me more optimistic towards mathematics.
I can't say that my feelings about mathematics have changed. I think that this course was just an exception. I can still remember back to taking math tests in high school...
I really said these things to a friend when he asked about the class. So, believe it or not, you were right, I did end up liking the class. You win.
It made it less mundane than an ordinary math class with a professor mumbling into the blackboard and not really helping any students.
I had originally thought that my professor would be that of the likes of my Algebra 2 teacher. She had made us feel humiliated in front of the class if we did not know the answers.
I've always been good at math but I get board with courses like precalculus. Since I don't have any interest I don't want to learn it. What's unique about this course is the material we study actually means something to me. I can see how it's applied in the real world. That's interesting to me.
This class was truly unique. It was unlike any other class I have ever had. I had fun during class, and I learned from it at the same time.
I thought that the teacher would just stand up at the board and write a bunch of stuff that I wouldn't understand and then we would have a big test on it and I would fail. To my surprise, it was nothing like that.
I feel if math is taught like this in elementary schools at the national level the sky is the limit for us.
I will go into my next math course with a positive attitude, as opposed to the attitude I displayed when I entered this course.
Never in my life have I ever written a sentence in math. Since I am an English major, writing has always come a lot easier to me than math. It was wonderful to be able to express my thoughts on the subject...
I was somewhat impressed with the course from the beginning, but now I must say this is definitely the best math class I have ever taken.
The course uses both the teacher and the students to teach the material and this is very helpful to the students.
This is a class that you don't mind going to, because it does not put you to sleep.
I have always enjoyed mathematics and my view has not changed. I have never enjoyed a math class as much as this one though.
Now at the end of the course I feel like this is not a class to take lightly and that if you don't do your work then you'll get a bad grade.
All of my life math has not been one of my specialties and I have always dreaded going to math class. I wish that my elementary and high school teachers could have adopted your style while I was in their classes.
Non-mathematically, the course gave me a chance to organize my thoughts and answers to be clear and understandable. For instance, the write ups at the end of each section are monotonous but, the complete sentences remind me of how and why I got a specific answer.
By letting the students use their knowledge of mathematics in different ways, students exercise their mentality and use different thinking processes.
I feel that I had the opportunity to analyze mathematical situations, and learn on my own pace. I was not force fed information and told to memorize it.
In this course I did not learn any new mathematical knowledge, but I did learn different and creative ways in which it can be applied. That is probably the most important thing in the world you can learn.
The class was fair, and you really had to use your brain.
We did many things in this class that I did my senior year in high school. The difference is that I actually understood the concepts and ideas because I had to do it myself. I came to the conclusion that hands on in math is better than the teacher writing numbers on the board the whole class, without looking at the students once. All in all, I think I got more out of this math course than all of my four years in high school.
Remembering back to the first day of this math class, I remembered I was pretty terrified. I've never been good at math. I was regretting the fact that I had to take this math course. Although when I arrived at the class for the first time, I listened to the introduction for the class, and all the requirements. I left the class with a little smile on my face.
Everybody learns best differently and I guess I learn best by when I sit at a desk looking at the chalkboard and the teacher absorbing information in my head.
I was getting stressed, like everyone else, but I was also getting fed up with working in groups. It just didn't seem to be as great as I thought it would be. I am an independent worker. I need to be alone, sitting, where it's quiet and calm.
Do I remember the first day of this class? A sunny, warm, bright September afternoon, hanging out in a smoky room. High above in my 4th floor suite in beautiful Courtney Hall, I glance over at my clock.
2:00 PM: Time for my first Math class. I have never in my 19 years of existence, ever took any sort of interest in any Math class I participated in. Needles s to say I was not looking forward to my 'Mathematical Explorations' class at all.
3:25 PM: Same afternoon, my first ever interest in a Math class is felt. For various reasons described by my new professor I seem to believe that I have a chance to learn mathematics in a non stressful way. A way where there will be no big numbers on long Math quizzes. A way so that I wouldn't be looking at somebody's ass and a large green board with equation I just didn't understand written all over it. This way to learn Mathematics sounded fun and interesting.
One week later, I was learning new things in Math class. Learning is a word I personally never associated closely with Math. But... Damn I was learning something!
Two months later, I am working on my final paper, still convinced I was learning new concepts and ideas all semester long. Thinking how much I enjoyed this non-traditional math class and how I wish others could have shared the 180 degree spin on Mathematics which I have felt over the last few months. Maybe it was working in the groups that made the class so great?... Maybe I'm smart and just never knew it?... Was it that I found the subject matter interesting? Maybe, who knows...
When I entered the classroom for the first time I expected the math class to be the typical math class. By typical I mean a teacher speaking in a monotonous voice facing the board writing numbers and letters and looking to the class for a specific answer once in a while... Boring!
Everyone is jealous of my math class. They can't get over what we do. You'll have so many kids trying to get into that class next year.