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Academic assignment goes beyond the classroom

August 12, 2015

Last fall, students of Dr. Dawn Archey’s Elementary Functions MTH 1400 class were not aware that their assignment would be presented at a conference of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) this month.

Dr. Dawn Archey

Dr. Dawn Archey, center (Photograph courtesy: MAA MathFest 2015)

Archey, a mathematics professor in the College of Engineering & Science, seeks practical examples to teach students about mathematics and the world around them.  She wrote a module to study the effect of coastal flooding on low-lying island nations due to rising sea levels.

Students applied mathematical modeling to complete their assignment.  A written component accompanied the assignment allowing students to reflect on their findings.  Posters were presented at a campus event in October 2014.

Students find mathematical modeling challenging,” says Archey.  “It’s a valuable example especially when it is linked to a social justice cause and sustainability of the planet.

Archey presented her research and that of her students, Nicholas GarippaMichael Purdy-SachsLuke Stempien andDayton Yingling, at the 100th anniversary conference of the MAA in Washington, D.C.  Her research on this topic will be included in an upcoming book featuring a collection of social justice modules for mathematics courses.

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