Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants

Title

Developing Writing Skills in an Introduction to Proofs Course

Department

Mathematics Department

College

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Disciplines

Physical Sciences and Mathematics

Abstract

A transition course from the problem solving orientation of calculus courses more abstract upper level courses is an important course in the mathematics major at many universities. At Grand Valley State University, an important feature of this course is that it is a part of the Universitys Supplemental Writing Skills Program. As such, the instructor is required to work with the students on revising drafts of papers before final submission. This requirement is partially satisfied with the Portfolio of Proofs, which consists of ten propositions to be proven or disproven. Students may hand in each proof to the professor two times to be critiqued. The goal is that each student will have a completed Portfolio of Proofs that will illustrate the various proof techniques that students may encounter in later courses. We attempt to achieve this and other course objectives with an active learning environment by incorporating two or three preview activities that must be completed before each class. We also use classroom activities that can be done individually or in a collaborative learning setting where students work in groups to brainstorm, make conjectures, test each others' ideas, reach consensus, and hopefully, develop sound mathematical arguments to support their work.

Conference Name

MathFest

Conference Location

Madison, WI

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