Making the Transition

Anita Salem
Paula Shorter
John Koelzer

Mathematics Department
Rockhurst College
1100 Rockhurst Road
Kansas City, MO 64110

salem@vax1.rockhurst.edu
shorter@vax1.rockhurst.edu
koelzer@vax1.rockhurst.edu

Grant Number: DUE: 9551661

Rockhurst College began experimenting with alternative calculus curricula in 1990 and became a test site for the Duke University Project CALC program in the fall of 1992. Specifically, we were looking for a calculus curriculum that emphasized conceptual understanding, had a demonstrated commitment to modeling real-life applications, and used modern technology as a fundamental tool to both solve problems and present ideas. From the beginning we made extensive use of the Mathematica laboratory materials developed at Duke University and Bowdoin College that were an integral part of Project CALC. Our efforts to build a laboratory-rich environment resulted in the creation of a Mathematics Technology Classroom (funded by the DUE-9551661 NSF-ILI grant). Technical information regarding the physical layout and the equipment component of the mathematics technology classroom will be provided. Issues of funding, building and maintaining a technological learning environment will also be included. Examples of curricular materials designed specifically around the technology in the room will be displayed.

One of the most successful aspects of our efforts to implement Project CALC has been the use of open-ended, independent student projects. The projects have been judged by students and faculty to noticeably improve student understanding, to stimulate student interest in calculus, and to allow for the analysis of non-trivial, real-world applications. The NSF-CCD grant supports the creation of well-defined student projects in calculus that are more authentically connected (through introductory readings and carefully sequenced analytical activities) to their scientific disciplines. Preliminary drafts of the first set of interdisciplinary student projects (funded by the DUE-9653093 NSF-CCD grant) will be displayed.


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