Research meets teaching

When I was asked to give a talk on some aspect of the history of mathematics a couple of years ago at Suffolk County Community College, I tried to bridge my research and teaching interests by presenting on the history of numerical algorithms. My Ph.D. was in numerical analysis and this was an opportunity to use my research background to… Read more →

Teaching Reading in a Math class?

An often asked question from my students is “but this is a math class – and you want me to read and write?” When teaching my upper division Intro to Proofs class, I find a certain discomfort among students in extracting information from a math text. Most students are used to skimming over some examples and finding one that matches… Read more →

Not so Elementary Mathematics

A thought provoking article on mathematics for elementary school teachers appeared in the recent issue of the American Educator. It was written by Dr. Hung-Hsi Wu, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at UC- Berkeley. He writes that the basic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division involve more conceptual processes than most people realize, and suggested that there should be separate… Read more →

Connecting concepts with Wolfram Alpha

I posted earlier about using Wolfram Alpha to create worksheets with conceptual understanding. One of the most central ideas in college algebra and precalculus is the connection between zero, x-intercepts and factors of a polynomial. However, it is an idea that many students have trouble grasping. So I made a short worksheet using Wolfram Alpha that engages students in studying… Read more →

Wolfram Alpha

There has already been a lot of buzz about the online computational engine called Wolfram Alpha (WA). You can check out this article in the Wall Street Journal, for instance. My main interest in WA is to figure out how to integrate it into the classes that I teach, which range from developmental mathematics to graduate level numerical analysis. In… Read more →

Math in Art – kolams of South India

Math and art is always a fascinating topic in a math for liberal arts class. To broaden the students’ perspectives, one could include kolam designs. These are designs that women draw in front of their houses in southern India, especially in the state of Tamil Nadu. In northern India, a similar type of threshold design is called rangoli. Kolams are… Read more →

Stats on dev math and college graduation

I’ve been trying to find out for a while now about longitudinal studies on the graduation rates of students in developmental programs in college. The National Center of Education Statistics (NCES) has published a study which provides the data on that issue as well as many others. In fact you can create your own tables with their Quickstats feature. The… Read more →

Some articles on faculty development

The March 2009 issue of PRIMUS, a journal for undergrad math education, focuses on faculty development. The articles are an interesting read for those who want to learn more about student centered math classrooms and varying types of assessments. Also, the January 2009 issue of PRIMUS has three articles on the use of wikis in math classes. The one on… Read more →