M.A.T.H. Tips: Vol. 8
It’s almost here! Summer can mean time to rejuvenate and for others it’s time to keep teaching with a slightly different pace and schedule. We hope these articles will provide some tools to balance work, play and relaxation over the summer months.
From insidehighered.com: How to Get the Most Out of Summer
This next article from the Chronicle of Higher Ed has useful tips on time blocking, setting expectations, and making time for vacation all sure to help you be productive and relaxed by the time the next semester rolls around.
For those wanting to explore new teaching styles, the MAA has a helpful blog with numerous resources. Read: Want to give your teaching style a makeover?
Some math inspired reading for your summer enjoyment on the patio or on vacation!
- The Calculus Diaries: How Math Can Help You Lose Weight, Win in Vegas, and Survive a Zombie Apocalypse by Jennifer Ouellette – A English major turned science writer spends a year tackling her fear of mathematics.
- Here’s Looking at Euclid: From Counting Ants to Games of Chance—An Awe-Inspiring Journey Through the World of Numbers by Alex Bellos – From the Amazon to Japan, from randomness, to origami this globe-trotting tour takes you through the world and history of mathematics.
- The Oxford Murders by Guillermo Martinez – A young mathematics graduate student and his code-cracking landlady become embroiled in a solving a series of murders.
- The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by Sydney Padua A graphic novel recounting an alternative history of wild adventures and witty dialogue, of the famous Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbett.
- Student Videos – As an alternative to another written homework have your students create a video mini lecture on a topic or concept. Assign different topics to different students and put them together to make a reference for the class. Be sure to have them include a sample problem that they work completely. Their peers can grade the videos on correctness.
- Look Ahead Assignment – One of the worst things students can do at the end of the semester is leave all that knowledge behind thinking it has no application to their future endeavors. Instead, have students imagine how they can apply their new knowledge and skills to their futures—both in future classes and beyond. It may be about the course content, or it may be about how they learn or work with new information. As a variation, consider asking students to write to you a few months later with an update.
- Reflection Questions – Help cement learning by asking students to reflect on their new knowledge- both individually and in groups—and how their knowledge and skills have grown over the course of the semester. Where are they now versus where they started? What are the most important insights they have gained over the course of the semester? This activity helps them to synthesize large amounts of information and focus on the big concepts rather than on smaller, discrete pieces of information.
- Write a semester post-mortem – Give your class a mini review, identify the highlights: what you think went well and what you could have done better. Identify difficult topics and assignments as well as those that succeed.
- If you did not cover it, don’t assume they know it. Often when writing a final exam, it is tempting to pick interesting, multi-concept problems. Be sure that every problem assigned has a corresponding related problem covered in class or the homework. In general, err on the side of if you didn’t cover it, they don’t know it.
Ever wonder how large a prime number could be, or how math can be useful to a historian? In this series of Ted Talks a range of mathematicians show how math appears in all aspects of our lives, from fractal patterns in African prints, to cities, corporations, and even comics.
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