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

Orlando, Florida, March 16-19, 2006

Paper C008

Just In Time - For What?

Markus Pomper

Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
Indiana University East
Richmond, IN 47374
Phone: (765) 973-8281
Fax: (765) 973-8435

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'Just-in-time' teaching of advanced applied mathematics such as Calculus II or Differential Equations means that students take these math courses in the same semester as they take science courses (usually physics) in which they would use the mathematical concepts for mathematical modeling. While this simultaneous offering of courses may not be a problem at large universities, small colleges face the problem that suitable science courses may not be scheduled in the same semester as the math courses, or may not be offered at all. This report describes the experience of including science experiments in a differential equations course.

The experiments included damped and undamped harmonic motion, Newton's Law of Cooling, and resonance in LCR circuits. Students were asked to prepare for each experiment by setting up a differential equation that would model each experiment. They were asked to use the model to qualitatively predict the behavior of the experiment. Students performed to actual experiments in small groups: Measurements were taken using computer-interfaced devices. Students used the software to compare the data obtained from the experiment with anticipated solution.

Keyword(s): applications, calculus, differential equations