McKenzie Lamb, Ripon College Assistant Professor of Mathematics, received a grant from the Academy of Inquiry Based Learning (AIBL) to create a set of Inquiry Based Learning course notes for his course: “Mathematical Thinking and Writing.”
Inquiry Based Learning is described by the AIBL as a “student-centered method of teaching Mathematics.” It engages students in a different fashion than the traditional method of teaching mathematics. According to Lamb, while there are some writing assignments and exams as in a traditional course, “In my Mathematical Thinking and Writing course, I’m hardly lecturing at all. Instead, students spend class time working on and presenting solutions to exercises from a set of course notes.”
“The idea,” says Lamb, “is that as much as possible, students should actively develop the material themselves rather than passively absorbing information from a lecture. “
Lamb’s class features four to six student presentations per week, and after each presentation Lamb and his students ask questions and suggest improvements to the presenter. If the solution presented in class is incomplete or incorrect, the presenter is required to present a revised solution on a different day.
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