You are here


Teaching an Introduction to the Mathematics of Computer Graphics

Thursday, August 4, 2:35 p.m. - 3:55 p.m., Union C

This workshop introduces a project-based, general-population elective on the mathematics of computer graphics. Participants will see some new mathematics and receive a course outline and syllabus, and more importantly, a hands-on introduction to the free software used in the course projects. The workshop also covers how to extend the course for more advanced audiences, such as mathematics majors or computer science majors. The free software POV-Ray has been around for decades, but is still updated and released today. It creates realistic 3D images and animations from mathematical descriptions of the objects in a scene. This requires students to master the mathematical content in pursuit of their creative goals, but also gives them immediate and enjoyable practical applications of that content. Students no longer ask, “What is this good for?” They immediately see the purpose of the mathematics in their own creative projects, and in the computer graphics industry. Participants receive a list of suggested student projects with grading rubrics, interactive online tools, references for further reading, and more. Prerequisites for this general-population course are algebra and polynomial differentiation; linear algebra and/or computer programming are not required.

Nathan C. Carter, Bentley University

The Hungarian Approach, Its Emphasis on Problem Solving, and Implications for Secondary Classrooms

Thursday, August 4, 4:10 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., Union C

In the Hungarian approach to learning and teaching, an emphasis is placed on problem solving, creativity, and communication. Students learn by working on problems that emphasize procedural fluency, conceptual understanding, and connections. An overarching goal of each lesson is to learn what it means to engage in mathematics and to feel the excitement of discovery. In this workshop, participants will experience the Hungarian approach through a dual role of student and teacher. As students, they will grapple with interesting mathematical tasks from secondary schools; as teachers, they will reflect on the learning experience. We will discuss the implementation of the Hungarian approach. Topics include how teachers sequence tasks to provide coherence to their lessons; and how teachers establish a classroom where students are not afraid to share ideas or make mistakes. We will explore the implications for pre-service teacher preparation. We will share results from Budapest Semesters in Mathematics Education, a semester-long program (in Budapest) for American undergraduates that focuses on the Hungarian approach. The workshop is intended for undergraduates or recent graduates interested in teaching secondary school mathematics, and faculty members who work with them.

Ryota Matsuura, St. Olaf College

What's the Story? A Graduate Student Workshop on Formulating a Research Presentation for a General Audience

Thursday, August 4, 1:00 p.m. - 2:20 p.m., Union C

Presenting our research to undergraduate students can be both fun and rewarding. It can also be difficult, however, since the gory details of our results often require a great deal of specific jargon and background. Nonetheless, the big ideas can almost always be presented at a variety of levels, and this workshop is designed to interactively help participants develop the skills needed to formulate a presentation on their research that is appropriate for an audience of undergraduate students. Since many colleges and universities require giving such a talk as part of a job interview, almost any graduate student will have the opportunity to do so, and the ability to communicate complex mathematical ideas to students is a valued trait in a candidate. This workshop will consist of hands-on activities and audience interaction aimed toward developing and improving the necessary skills for creating an engaging and accessible presentation for undergraduates. Participants should be prepared to discuss in groups a potential presentation on their research or other related topic.

Rachel Schwell, Central Connecticut State University
May Mei, Denison University