Category: Exploration

Bringing the Real World to Your Math Class Every Day

I’ve been spending the first 5-10 minutes of every 2-hour math class discussing graphs in the news with my students. I’ll give you a few examples of what came up naturally week by week: Lots of social media graphs: Slope of the adoption rates for new users, the DAU (daily active users) and MAU (monthly active users) over time, and comparison of the adoption of new features in different platforms (Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) Tech industry: Growth of Amazon, Facebook, and Google, rise in employees at these companies, and comparison the money spent on Black Friday in the...

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Group Exploration in Math

I am often asked how to get learners to spend more time “exploring” in their learning rather than just recalling or responding to specific prompts for information. Exploration of the learning space is particularly important because learners find the interesting nooks and crannies of the concepts that they would not otherwise discover. Let me share an example. Yesterday in class we needed to spend more time on exponential functions. I began class by displaying a graph of y=2^x and asking the class specific questions like “The graph of an exponential function has an asymptote, where is it?” Only to...

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Elaborations for Creative Thinking in STEM

As I watch the proliferation of digital learning platforms, particularly in STEM education (where there are lots of objective-type problems), I am excited by the increased focus on learning and adaptivity but also a little uneasy. For the most part the motivations to “go digital” are pure – increase access to courses that students need, provide help that is more tailored to each student, give immediate feedback, provide more practice if the student wants it, and let students move at their own pace. My worry is that math and science students aren’t getting anything but highly-structured problems. Every problem that a...

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