Electronic Proceedings of the Seventh Annual International Conference on Technology in Collegiate Mathematics

Orlando, Florida, November 17-20, 1994

Paper C018

Meshing Meaningful Student Projects into a Fairly Traditional Calculus Course

Kemble Yates

Department of Mathematics
Southern Oregon State College
Ashland, OR 97520
Phone: (503) 552-6578
Fax: (503) 552-6429

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In the last decade, a sincere attempt by the mathematical community has been made to 'reform' calculus. Key thrusts in this direction are: make it 'lean and lively,' i.e. throw out several topics and present the ones we keep in an interesting manner, incorporate technology--both in our delivery and in student learning, and diversify our pedagogy to include more than (or other than) the traditional lecture method. Other strong voices, fearing a severe loss of mathematical content, have resisted these changes. I will present my experiences in making modest attempts at all three of these directions for change, all the while maintaining a fairly traditional syllabus. Three student projects were assigned whose combined purpose included illustrating calculus concepts, learning technology (primarily the graphing calculator), and fostering a healthy learning environment by working with peers. I will present these projects, report the results, and draw some working conclusions about how this technique can work for future calculus courses.

Keyword(s): calculus, graphing calculators, differential equations, integrals