Plenary participants

Engaging Mathematics Leads Hands-On Session and Delivers Plenary Address during 15th Annual SSI

During the 15th Annual SENCER Summer Institute held last week at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the Engaging Mathematics initiative led a hands-on session in which participants tried out lessons and curricular units that faculty from the Engaging Math project have developed, all of which illustrate how to connect important topics in mathematics to a variety of civic issues. We are pleased to share these lessons and associated materials here on our project website, so that even if you weren’t able to join us in Worcester, you will still be able to access and use the Engaging Mathematics lessons in your own classroom, with your own students.

The lessons cover civic topics in environmental science, health, social justice, and sustainability, and are applicable to statistics, college algebra, pre-calculus, calculus, and mathematics for liberal arts courses. For an outline of the agenda of the hands-on session, links to lessons and materials covered by session presenters, and links to our Engaging Mathematics Advisory Board member Victor Donnay’s plenary slides, references, and handouts, please see the document below:

Download (PDF, 101KB)

Rikki Wagstrom (Metropolitan State University)

Engaging Mathematics Faculty Member Writes Chapter for New Book Published by MAA

Dr. Rikki Wagstrom, SENCER Leadership Fellow, associate professor of mathematics at Metropolitan State University, and Engaging Mathematics institutional partner, authored a chapter in the Mathematical Association of America’s recent book Doing the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Her chapter is titled “Using SoTL Practices to Drive Curriculum Development” and describes how SoTL, or the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, influenced her Mathematics of Sustainability course development.

SENCER Leadership Fellow Jacqueline Dewar and Curtis D. Bennett edited Doing the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. They provide the following commentary on Rikki’s chapter:

In this chapter, Rikki Wagstrom describes how she applied SoTL processes to aid in the development and evaluation of a new curriculum that integrated civic issues into a pre-requisite course for college algebra. She helps readers to understand several critical aspects of the process of doing SoTL by describing her approach to searching the literature and telling how her search led her to a useful model, one that prompted her to revise the site of her investigation and helped her re-shape her research question. She provides insights into the concerns that can arise in the selection of faculty to teach experimental and control sections, and the tough decisions that have to be made about how much data to collect.

For the Engaging Mathematics initiative, Rikki plans to develop four new modules for Mathematics of Sustainability. The modules will cover disappearing milkweed populations in the U.S. and the potential impact on Monarch butterfly populations, wind energy modeling and profitability, comparisons of greenhouse gas emissions generated by different automotive fuels, and the interplay between population growth in the U.S. and declining per capita carbon footprints. Each module will be a self-contained, portable unit suitable for use in college algebra, pre-calculus, and liberal arts mathematics courses.

To order a copy of the book, click here. You can follow Engaging Mathematics on Twitter at @MathEngaging.

Photograph courtesy of Dr. Rikki Wagstrom