Working with students

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Description of summer workshops

You write about summer workshops; however they are not developed in this proposal. Could you please provide details about the summer workshops? How will the students be chosen? What are examples of material they will develop?

The Workshop for Math Students Recognizing that mathematics is a gateway to STEM majors, The Math Images Project Summer Workshop was developed to provide undergraduate students completing their first or second year of college with an opportunity to seriously engage in researching, thinking, talking, and writing about mathematics. The Workshop is designed to be inclusive and welcoming to all students, in particular women, underrepresented minorities, and first generation students.

During the 10-weeks of the Workshop held during the Summers of 2009 and 2010, students were supported to develop their understanding of math concepts and skills through learning to write mathematics that is both accurate and articulate. They worked 40-hour weeks in a computer laboratory that had projection equipment allowing them to both work individually and together. Using guidelines for the development of pages that have been developed based on site research and prior experience (, students worked together with faculty members and peers to identify and develop pages that included quality mathematics and were responsive to audience, in terms of text content and development, page layout and design.

The Workshop format is inquiry-informed and project-based. It includes both individual and collaborative work. Students participate in ongoing mathematics discourse, as they research, think and talk about their own and others’ pages and how they might be developed. They learn to receive and work with feedback, develop skills that allow them to work independently and collaboratively, and explore different types of mathematics content.

Each student works with math and images of his or her own choosing. In general students either identify a topic with which they would like to work or go to the image bank on the wiki to identify pages that others have started that continue to need work, or images for which pages need to be developed. Once they have selected the image on which they will work (e.g. the fractal, Koch’s Snowflake), they then use all available resources (e.g. professors, books, internet, peers) to develop their knowledge of the math behind the image, or that can be associated with it. This includes examples of its application, definitions, other mathematics that it is related to, and so forth. This information is then used to develop (and revise) the image page. The process of page development involves multiple iterations, each of which is informed by feedback from the professor, other students, etc. and targeted to improve the readability and accuracy of the page. Development of a page typically takes 2-4 weeks.

The pages the students develop are publications and become public resources for others’ learning. For many student participants, the Workshop is their first opportunity to produce work that is used outside of the classroom and is not created for the sake of evaluation.

The Workshop for Computer Science Students The Workshop for Computer Science Students held during the Summer of 2010 had a similar format to the Math Workshop, however the emphasis was on programming web-based dynamic graphics to visually communicate mathematics concepts. The computer science students partnered with other students writing mathematics rather than writing mathematics themselves. In Math Images II, this emphasis will be shifted to involve the computer science student participants in programming for approximately half of the time in the workshop, and writing mathematics for images and topics specific to computer science the other half of their time. The rubric and models that have been developed in work with students in the Math Workshop will be adapted during the first summer of funding for use with the computer science students, and will be refined during the second summer.