In the College Algebra course taught at Yavapai College, modeling data with different types of functions is a key focus. So the projects I use in my class utilize the same data and question. As noted in Part 1 of this post, the goal of this series of project is easy to understand.

If you spend your first two years of college in a two-year college instead of a four-year college, how much would you save?

In the first project based on this question, a linear model is found for the data in the project. In subsequent projects, nonlinear models are calculated from the data.

Over the past several semesters, I have developed a series of student projects that I use in College Algebra and Finite Mathematics. These projects incorporate a large number of the learning objectives in these courses. They require students to apply these learning objectives to a real world problem over a significant portion of the semester. My use of projects like these are based on research coming out of the field of neuroscience. Many of these results are summarized nicely in the book Making It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter Brown, Henry Roediger, and Mark McDaniel. In this book, the authors point out that many of the strategies students use to study, like rereading a text or massed practice, are not very productive. They give the illusion of mastery and result in learning that is not very durable. As the authors put it,

Learning is deeper and more durable when it’s effortful. Learning that’s easy is like writing in sand, here today and gone tomorrow.

Using student projects is definitely effortful since it requires students to apply basic mathematical concepts to a problem with no unique solution. It helps them to distill the key parts of a problem and to put it into a mathematical framework. Since this framework is sustained over several projects, additional knowledge is acquired and organized in the brain so that new information is consistent with prior information. Continue reading “How to Sustain Projects in College Algebra and Finite Mathematics (Part 1)”

I want to thank those of you who attended my session, Make Class Time Count in a Flipped Classroom, at the AMATYC Annual Conference in Anaheim. It was great to see such a large audience. I did not expect nearly so many of you for a session on a Saturday near Disneyland. I apologize if you did not get a handout…below I have links to several posts containing the different worksheets. Continue reading “Make Class Time Count at AMATYC”

Today I gave my presentation on “Assessing Student Projects Using Virtual Poster Sessions”. In this presentation, I demonstrated how you can use posters to assess student learning on projects in Business Calculus. The beauty of this technique is that it does not require any special technology to do. Most of your students have access to the tools they need to create the posters like Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. And you probably use a learning management system and a tool that you can use to create PDF files. That and a little organization can get you on your way to using projects and research posters in your class. Continue reading “ICTCM 2013 Presentation”

I am giving a presentation, “Introductory Projects in College Algebra and Calculus: Pulling It Off“, at the AMATYC Conference in Jacksonville. This presentation will take place on Saturday from 2:30 to 3:20PM. I will be talking about two projects, College Costs 2 and Medical Insurance 3.

I use the College Costs 2 project as the first project in College Algebra. Medical Insurance 3 is the first project in Survey of Calculus. Because these are first projects, students need many scaffolding resources in the form of technology assignments. The links above contain all of the technology assignments for these projects. They are administered over a five-week period at the beginning of the semester. Continue reading “AMATYC Presentation in Jacksonville”