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ERIC Number: EJ794148
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Apr-25
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
A Course in Combinatorial Choreography
Wasley, Paula
Chronicle of Higher Education, v54 n33 pA13 Apr 2008
This article describes how students at North Central College do-si-doed their way to a deeper understanding of fractals, fractions, and abstract algebra. As part of the college's "Verandah" curriculum, David J. Schmitz, an associate professor of mathematics, led seven undergraduates, mostly math majors and minors, through an adventure in "math in motion"--otherwise known as square dancing. Verandah is the school's interim-term course of study that emphasizes unconventional learning opportunities in informal settings, and during this two-week course, students met for three hours each weekday to practice some combinatorial choreography and discuss the mathematical functions embodied by their fancy footwork. Mr. Schmitz taught the students 100 basic square-dancing calls (including "Swing Through," "Ferris Wheel," and "Courtesy Turn") and the concepts (like "clockwise" or "in reverse") that can be used to modify the moves. During their daily dancing, the group took frequent breaks to ponder the symmetry of the movements, imagine themselves as inputs or outputs in algebraic functions, or calculate the number of possible permutations that would bring the group back to its original formation.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A