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ERIC Number: ED359561
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993-Apr
Pages: 13
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
The Well-Tempered Mathematics Assignment.
Rishel, Thomas W.
Mathematics faculty around the United States are using writing assignments in a variety of ways. A mathematics teacher at Alma College, Michigan, has students write mathematical autobiographies, keep a reading logbook, and write letters to other students about the course, letters to instructors about the topics, or about what they do not understand. Senior seminars at other institutions focus on famous equations, oral and written analyses of primary texts, or analysis of secondary texts. Calculus and pre-calculus lecturers also have found the usefulness of incorporating writing projects into their curricula. The writing assignments of a lecturer at Cornell University influence the structure of the dialogue he sets up with his students in a course entitled "From Space to Geometry." Serious mathematical and philosophical questions arise for the use of a seemingly trivial writing assignment--measure the height of a building and write the results as if a lab experiment were being explained. Discussions after completing the assignment usually lead to the realization that "mathematical methods" (such as Pythagorean Theorem) really do not work on a sphere such as the earth. Samples of students' writing throughout the course of the semester show how students can move from halting attempts to skillful use of language to explain mathematical concepts. Examples of other students' writing show the frustration that they can feel as they try to understand such concepts as a projection map. (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A