Computational thinking and activity are a fundamental aspect of what it means to conduct scientific and mathematical work. In light of this, some propose that students’ mathematical education should include an integration of computational activity into their mathematical experiences, giving students opportunities to engage with computational tools as they reason about mathematical concepts. In this talk, I make a case for this focus on and integration of computing in mathematics education. I present some broad rationales for this integration, as outlined in education literature and policy documents, and I propose ideas for how this might practically be implemented. As a motivating example, I present results from a study in which undergraduate novice programmers engaged with basic Python programming as they solved combinatorial problems. I demonstrate how this focus on computing is a natural extension of prior work on combinatorics education, and I highlight noteworthy aspects of students’ experiences with using computation in a mathematical context. I conclude by framing this work within ongoing efforts to better understand the nature of computational thinking and activity for undergraduate students.

Title: Designing Calculus Tasks to Foster Creative Mathematical Thinking

Abstract:

Fostering students’ mathematical creativity necessitates certain instructional actions such as designing and implementing tasks that foster creativity. We will share our task design framework incorporating research-based task features and aligning them with the Creativity in Progress Reflection (CPR) formative assessment instrument. We will also provide some examples of utilization of this framework through instructor-designed tasks and transformation of routine exercises.

Title: Connections Across Contexts in Advanced Mathematics Classes

Abstract: Research in undergraduate mathematics education often focuses on the experiences of individuals, as captured by interviews, and on examinations of instructional practice, through both interviews and observations. In this talk, I highlight work on four topics related to instructional practice: ways to analyze/examine instruction, connections between beliefs and instruction, homework as part of instructional practice, and considering instruction from a content perspective. While most of this work is grounded in abstract algebra classrooms, applications to a variety of mathematics courses will be encouraged and considered.

Katie Davenport, UK math major, will discuss research from her senior capstone thesis about how undergraduate tutors can be better prepared. This is a joint event with the Math Club, and Katie's project has been supervised by Dr. Scruggs.

Dr. Lowel Abrams, Associate Professor at George Washington University, will show his techniques for helping students improve their proof-writing skills.

Instead of using our normal Zoom link, we will be joining the UK College of Public Health, who is bringing in Dr. MarYam Hamedani from Stanford University to talk with us. She will be discussing how to foster racial literacy in the classroom.

Topic: Stereotype Threat, the phenomenon in which people feel themselves at risk of conforming to stereotypes of the own social group. Our speaker will lead a discussion about how we can combat this threat in our classes.

Dr. Alex McAllister and Dr. Joel Kilty will share how Centre College has re-envisioned its calculus sequence. Their goal, in partnership with Southwestern University, was to rethink the entire calculus curriculum to meet the needs of modern students and the realities of their classrooms. Their talk will include time for discussion.