Will Hall

Math Education Colloquium

Date: 11/28/2018
Time: 4:30PM-5:30PM
Place: 407 Armstrong Hall

Abstract: The biological and life sciences make up 30% of traditional Calculus I students (Bressoud, 2015) and we often build entire courses for these students in which calculus is set within contexts relevant for the biological and life sciences. However, we know very little about the role context plays in how students reason about calculus ideas within the biological and life sciences. These contexts are diverse yet tied together in their application to the life sciences and worthy of specific consideration.

I gave a set of five calculus accumulation tasks to twelve undergraduate life science majors. The data analyzed via open coding from a constructivist grounded theory approach (Charmaz, 2000) and a new analytic tool, local theory diagrams was developed. Results indicate problem context influenced students’ assessment of the viability of their solution strategies as well as enabled them to reason through apparent contradictions in their work. In this talk I will share some of the details from my study and we will spend some time thinking through context-based reasoning within calculus.

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