An Innovative, Pluralistic, Multi-Valued Approach To Learning

In this project we developed, examined and evaluated processes of mathematical learning in the applied realistic context with regard to different learning styles. The progress in the first year of the project was in two directions, as described inside.

1. Mathematical aspects of educating architects

We developed, delivered, and evaluated a course "Mathematical Aspects of Architectural Design" for second year architecture students. The course is given in the "studio" environment. The study examined the features of mathematical learning in the architecture design project and its effect on applying mathematical methods and tools in the design process. Results of the follow-up indicated that the students applied a variety of complex geometrical forms in the projects given as the course assignments. Students' attitudes towards mathematics changed so that they found interest and challenge in integrating complex geometrical forms in the design solutions.

Related publications:

• I. Verner, and S. Maor "Mathematical Aspects of Educating Architecture Designers: A College Study", International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology (accepted).

• I. Verner, and S. Maor (2004): Design Problems in an Architecture College Mathematics Course. The International Commission on Mathematical Instruction Study 14 Conference: Applications and Modelling in Mathematics Education, Dortmund, Germany, 297-302.

• Sarah Maor submitted her thesis to the Technion Graduate School for final examination.

2. Applications motivated calculus course at the Technion

We conducted three experiments that examined different ways for integrating applications in the Calculus 2M course. In the first experiment, 75 calculus students participated in the optional supplementary classes that focused on applying the calculus concepts to realistic problems. The second experiment made a comparison of calculus studies in two groups. The groups received the same lectures (4 hours per week), but their 2 hours/week recitations were organized in different ways. The control group (n=33) had conventional recitation sessions (without applications). The experimental group (n=33) had 1 hour of conventional and 1 hour of applied problem solving sessions. In the third experiment we conducted two supplementary workshops which were attended by more than 50 students from the calculus class. In the workshops the calculus concepts were recreated from the practical need and through the analysis of applied problems.

After the workshops, the concepts were formally taught in the lectures. Results of the first two experiments indicated the significant advantage of the students studied calculus with applications in the course achievements, their understanding of the lectures was better and easier.

Related publications:

• S. Aroshas, I. Verner, A. Berman (2005) Calculus for Engineers: An Applications Motivated Approach, Mediterranean Conf. on Mathematics Education, 591-597, Palermo.

• Shuki Arochas gave a talk at the National Science Education Seminar, Nir Ezion, 20.09.04.


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