Proposal Abstract

This presentation will examine several elements of the Clemson Mathematical Science Department's reformation of the curriculum and instruction of its Calculus sequence (an adaptation of North Carolina State University's SCALE-UP project) in a mock classroom setting. Those attending will experience an interactive classroom as a participant. The lesson will begin with a brief introduction and mini-lecture outlining some reasons for choosing an active learning environment. Next, "students" will break up into groups to begin work on a learning activity. After completing the activity, participants will be asked to comment on their student experience. The presentation will conclude with a discussion led by the "instructors" (presenters) concerning the implementation of this study, preliminary assessment of the effectiveness of the experiment, and expectations and future research concerning this project.

Full Proposal

At the start of the 2006-2007 academic school year, Clemson University’s Mathematical Sciences Department implemented a new method of instruction for its first semester technical calculus course. The course redesign was inspired by the SCALE-UP project at the North Carolina State University Physics Department. This new approach encourages instructors to minimize lecture and to maximize activity based learning. Several factors contributed to the restructuring of instruction for these technical calculus courses, including similar moves within General Engineering and Mechanical Engineering and a successful effort underway in third semester calculus. Furthermore, the new design is compatible with K-12 mathematics education literature that emphasizes the need for students to construct their mathematical knowledge through activities that challenge their understanding and promote inquiry and exploration. Similar interactive environments that utilize groups and group work have been shown to improve academic performances for several cultural and ethnic groups.

This presentation will examine several elements of the Clemson Mathematical ScienceDepartment’s SCALE-UP project in a mock classroom setting. Those attending will experience an interactive classroom as a participant. The lesson will begin with a brief introduction and mini-lecture outlining some reasons for choosing a SCALE-UP model. Next “students” will break up into groups to begin work on a learning activity. The learning activity will involve mathematical logic puzzles. Participants will need to discuss and postulate a solution for each problem much as a student in a math class would. After completing the activity, participants will be asked to comment on their student experience. In particular, participants will discuss the effectiveness of working with a group in understanding and solving the problem. Participants will evaluate their level of confidence in their solution, and comment on how the dynamics of the group enhanced or detracted from their learning experience. The presentation will conclude with a discussion led by the “instructors” (presenters) concerning the implementation of the SCALE-UP project, preliminary assessment of the effectiveness of this project, and expectations concerning this project.

Participants should experience what it is like to participate in an interactive classroom. Learning new and difficult material often challenges students’ comfort levels. The mock classroom will simulate this discomfort and show how the SCALE-UP model provides a safe, working environment for students. The presentation will simulate SCALE-UP instruction methods and techniques that generalize to any subject. Participants should also leave the presentation appreciating the importance of teaching and learning methods that are motivated by research.

Location

Room 2904 B

Publication Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

 
Nov 2nd, 9:00 AM Nov 2nd, 9:45 AM

You Snooze; You Lose: Using a SCALE-UP Approach to Increase Student Participation and Performance in a First-Year Mathematics Course

Room 2904 B

This presentation will examine several elements of the Clemson Mathematical Science Department's reformation of the curriculum and instruction of its Calculus sequence (an adaptation of North Carolina State University's SCALE-UP project) in a mock classroom setting. Those attending will experience an interactive classroom as a participant. The lesson will begin with a brief introduction and mini-lecture outlining some reasons for choosing an active learning environment. Next, "students" will break up into groups to begin work on a learning activity. After completing the activity, participants will be asked to comment on their student experience. The presentation will conclude with a discussion led by the "instructors" (presenters) concerning the implementation of this study, preliminary assessment of the effectiveness of the experiment, and expectations and future research concerning this project.