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RUME Seminar

Gestures as Evidence of Assimilation When Learning Optimization - Seminar #1

Date: 4/11/2018
Time: 4:30PM-5:30PM
Place: 315 Armstrong Hall

Keith Gallagher & Nicole Engelke Infante

Abstract: Teachers and students often produce gestures during communication about mathematical concepts and processes. Our goal in this study was to determine whether students would produce gestures similar to those used by the teacher. Each of five students in a first semester calculus course was asked to solve two optimization problems based on a video lesson in which the teacher used primarily pointing, primarily depictive gestures, or no gestures at all. Though our data do not show the students’ gestures directly imitating the teacher’s, they provide support for the claim that frequent gesture use during communication may indicate assimilation of new concepts and that assimilation improves student performance on optimization tasks

Integrals, Volumes, and Visualizations - Seminar #2

Date: 4/11/2018
Time: 4:30PM-5:30PM
Place: 315 Armstrong Hall

Krista Bresock

Abstract: Many studies have been done on student understanding of integration and this research aims to add to that knowledge base with the study of student understanding of integration when applied to volume problems and how visualizations and sketches are used in the problem-solving process. Participants were recruited from a large, public, research university and interviews consisted of students working through routine and novel volume problems while discussing their thought processes aloud. Preliminary results show that students rely heavily on memorized formulas and have difficulties explaining the concepts behind the formulas. The idea of the integral as a sum of small pieces is present in most students studied, but they have trouble relating this idea to the formulas in their volume integrals. All students drew sketches of the geometric situation for all the problems, but the extent to which they could use their sketch meaningfully varied greatly.

All are welcome.