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MAA CP D1 Getting Students To Explore Concepts

Through Writing In Mathematics


Organizer:  Sarah Mabrouk, Framingham State University


This session invites papers about assignments and projects that require students to write about mathematical concepts, to express concepts in their own words, to interpret symbolic mathematics in their own words, and to write about mathematics, in general.  These assignments can include conceptual papers such as having the students explain a concept in their own words as an answer a question such as “What is a function?” or “What is a derivative?”, for example, in the form of a letter to a friend, a poem, or even a short story, project reports that require students to explain fully all concepts used as if to someone who knows little or nothing about the mathematics used in solving the project problem, assignments that require students to express theorems in plain English so that one of their friends could understand, or even simple assignments that require students to explain the meaning and the use of the variables and notations that they use.


Each presenter is encouraged to discuss how the use of the assignment/project helped students to improve their understanding of course concepts and how the use of writing in the course helped students to understand and to learn mathematics.  Of particular interest is the effect of such projects/assignments throughout the course on the students’ understanding of course concepts and notations, the ability of students to communicate mathematics using words and symbols, and the attitude of students toward mathematics.


Thursday, July 31, 2003, 1:00 – 3:00 pm


·        1:00 – 1:15 pm  Writing For Your Audience

Linda McGuire

Muhlenberg College


·        1:20 – 1:35 pm  Exploring, Writing, Presenting, and Defending Mathematical Concepts:

                                          A Project for Elementary Teachers

Debasree Raychaudhuri

California State University at Los Angeles


·        1:40 – 1:55 pm  Response Essays For Mathematics Classes

Mike Pinter

Belmont University


·        2:00 – 2:15 pm  Forming, Firming and Fitting-in-Place:  Using First (And Second)

      Draft Writing To Teach Mathematics

Janet Heine Barnett

Colorado State University – Pueblo


·        2:20 – 2:35 pm  Two Writing Assignments In Proofs Class

Pam Crawford

Jacksonville University


·        2:40 – 2:55 pm  Specialized Grading Rubrics For Short Writing Assignments

Michael Brilleslyper

U.S. Air Force Academy



Saturday, August 2, 2003, 1:00 – 3:00 pm


·        1:00 – 1:15 pm  Geometry Papers That Count

Paul Karafiol

Walter Payton College Prep High School


·        1:20 – 1:35 pm  Exploring Mathematical Concepts Through Writing In A Liberal Arts

  Mathematics Course

Julianne Labbiento

Leigh-Carbon Community College


·        1:40 – 1:55 pm  The Value Of Writing Assignments In History Of Mathematics

   and Combinatorics Courses

Peter Schumer

Middlebury College


·        2:00 – 2:15 pm  An Evaluation Of Portfolios Used As An Assessment In

Mathematics Courses

Murphy Waggoner

Simpson College


·        2:20 – 2:35 pm  Using Lattice Theory To Promote Effective Communication

    of Mathematics

Bin Lu, University of Arizona

Valerie Watts, University of Arizona


·        2:40 – 2:55 pm  Invoking Creativity In Conceptualization - Canceled

Alexander Khait

Jerusalem College of Engineering




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This page was created and is maintained by S. L. Mabrouk, Framingham State University.
This page was last modified on
Friday, January 08, 2010.