ERIC Number: ED310803
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-May
Reference Count: N/A
Teaching Mathematics from a Chemist's Viewpoint.
DeLorenzo, Ronald A.
This paper describes a chemistry professor's approach to teaching mathematics in the college classroom. Based on the assumption that the four main goals of the educational process in general are to teach students to communicate clearly, study regularly, master basic math skills, and think logically, a description is provided of the manner in which each of these goals is addressed in a calculus course at a community college. To develop students' communication skills, essay questions are included on all 1-hour examinations in the course, and on one-third of the quizzes. For example, a representative question might ask students to write a paragraph explaining how to derive a formula. Additionally, the importance of mastering significant digits and effectively communicating the meaning of those digits is stressed by requiring that even terms used in equations include nouns and verbs. To encourage regular study habits, quizzes are administered daily and count for 30% of the final grade. Basic math skills are developed through the development of both estimation skills and scientific calculator and computer proficiency. The use of calculators and computers is included mostly for future reference, as they are not allowed on exams; thus, students learn to use the devices when needed, yet still master mental estimation skills. Finally, logical skills are taught by including pre- and post-solution questions on examinations. A pre-solution question asks students to determine whether or not a given problem makes sense, or to discover the best strategy to answer the problem; post-solution questions ask what the solution might mean, or if it makes sense. This approach to teaching mathematics addresses both the specific elements of the discipline as well as the concerns of education in general. (JMC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Mathematics Conference (1st, Clarkston, GA, May 13-14, 1988).