ERIC Number: ED351080
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Calculus: An Active Approach with Projects.
Hilbert, Steve; And Others
Ithaca College, in New York, has developed and tested a projects-based first-year calculus course over the last 3 years which uses the graphs of functions and physical phenomena to illustrate and motivate the major concepts of calculus and to introduce students to mathematical modeling. The course curriculum is designed to: (1) emphasize on the unity of calculus; (2) focus on the effective teaching of the central concepts of calculus; (3) increase geometric understanding; (4) teach students to be good problem solvers; and (5) improve attitudes toward mathematics. The course centers on large, often open-ended, problems upon which students work both in and outside of class in groups, and individually, spending 2 to 3 weeks on each problem. Most of these projects are presented in such a way as to require a top-down analysis, in which the top level forces attention to a main idea, while the computations are required at the lowest levels. This approach enables students to recognize calculations as the "nuts and bolts" of a larger problem-solving process. Students' active participation, and clear written presentations of results are required. The course design is best represented by a spiral, which emphasizes the unity of calculus, while allowing for the continual review of the discipline's key skills and concepts, such as graphing, distance and velocity, multiple representations of functions, modeling, and top-down methodology. Three sample course problems are provided. (MAB)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Guides - Classroom - Learner
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Ithaca Coll., NY.