Student Research Projects in Mathematics at Clarion University

Daniel Schaal, James Reynolds
Karen Bolinger, David Hipfel
Roger Engle

Department of Mathematics
Clarion University of Pennsylvania
Peirce Science Center
Clarion, PA 16214

dschaal@mail.clarion.edu, reynolds@mail.clarion.edu
kbolinge@mail.clarion.edu, hipfel@mail.clarion.edu
engle@mail.clarion.edu

Grant Number: DUE: 9750967

For the past several years, the Mathematics Department has been placing an increased emphasis on student projects and student research. Every mathematics major is required to take a one credit senior seminar course that requires the student to write a paper and give an oral presentation on a mathematical topic. In the past these topics have been largely expository, but in recent years several students have worked with faculty members on original research or worked on other original projects. During the last few years for example, senior seminar students have worked on original research in Ramsey Theory and in mathematics education. One student developed software that would play a board game against a human opponent.

The purpose of this project is to give more mathematics students the opportunity to participate in original research or a special project by the time they become seniors. Our recently funded NSF-ILI grant has enabled us to upgrade our computer laboratory with the necessary hardware and software to expose all students to projects and individual investigations early in their college careers, beginning with first year calculus and continuing into geometry, linear algebra, mathematical modeling, differential equations, and numerical methods. With the introduction of computer-based projects into our curriculum in many courses, more students will develop problem solving skills and experience the independent investigation needed to attempt original problems.

The poster and handouts will detail specifics of the laboratory layout, hardware selections, and software choices. Examples of student projects of the past and those in development will be shared.


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