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  • 1.  IMPACT in Action - Success with Incorporation

    Posted 10-19-2022 13:01:00
    What successes have you had when incorporating these applications? Do you experience challenges when discussing mathematical applications into your course? How did you overcome these challenges?

    Nolan Outlaw
    Wake Tech Community College
    Raleigh NC

  • 2.  RE: IMPACT in Action - Success with Incorporation

    Posted 10-24-2022 09:31:00
    Great question, Nolan!
    When I try to tuck "applications" in at the end of a unit, I find it to be incredibly challenging for students. However, when I START by asking the question/application to be solved? We are then able to troubleshoot and see whether we currently have tools in our tool belt to be able to utilize. Then, when we find we don't have a way to solve a particular scenario, it gives me opportunity to introduce a new skill. Students are less resistant to the application because they see the entire concept as being necessary for that very purpose.

    Kathy Renfro
    Assistant Professor
    Cuyahoga CC
    Cleveland OH

  • 3.  RE: IMPACT in Action - Success with Incorporation

    Posted 10-24-2022 11:15:00
    I have only minimal experience incorporating applications into math courses, but here are some of my observations for a precalculus course. After the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, I designed a project that required students to take on the role of a FEMA manager who had to explain the difference between tsunamis and normal ocean waves, compute the total amount of energy produced by an earth quake of magnitude 8.9, and fill an easy trig model with information that had become available in the months after the disaster (e.g. the maximum measured height of wave on shore, the depth of the sea floor, maximum/minimum time differences of arriving tsunami waves, and so on). The final challenge was to find out how long the ocean was in retreat before the dangerous tsunami waves came gushing onto shore (which resulted in solving a trig equation). And last, how could this information be used to warn the population of future tsunamis?
    Students did do well with the research part and correctly computed the energy generated by the earth quake. Despite excellent videos by National Geographic, it was not easy for many to compute the period of the trig model from given maximum/minimum time differences of arriving tsunami waves. I had to do handholding to guide students into the right direction. With every step they succeeded I gave praise, which they found was very comforting and helpful. I also learned that students did not read the instructions well as some measurements were given in metric format and others were not. Thus, I made an extra effort to inform them to pay attention to possible conversions from meters into ft or vice versa. And last, I gave students two options to submit their work hoping that they would consult with me to improve their work in between attempts.
    In retro perspective, I think it would have been good to do this project in a learning community with an oceanography course having another content expert present or collaborating with a scientist from NOAA.

    Barbara Leitherer
    Professor of Mathematics
    CC of Baltimore County - Essex
    Baltimore MD