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Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) Workshops – Torrance, CA

Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) Workshops – Torrance, CA

I am glad that I attended this workshop by the Academy of Inquiry-Based Learning because it gave me lots of new ideas for my College Algebra course. It also helped to excite and re-energize, as well as renew my love for teaching. It was helpful to be around like-minded people and know that I am on the right track in doing what is best for my students.

Here are some ideas from the workshop that I either have already implemented or plan to implement:

  • Write four problems on the Board and then have students sign-up to present solutions. The student who signs up for the least number of problems gets to do it. If they make a mistake while at the Board, they get one pass before someone else gets to try it. Consider a minimum number of presentations per student each semester.
  • Students need a chance to reflect on what they’ve just read, learned, viewed, discussed, etc. Each group needs to have a deliverable. e.g., after a student presentation, ask students to work in small groups for a minute and write down a question, comment, or concern. Or ask students to turn in a summary of what other students said.
  • Ask students to present multiple representations. e.g., if a group finishes early, ask them to solve the problem differently.
  • Have an agenda on the Board and list objectives at the beginning of each section.
  • Encourage students to use flashcards.
  • Kinesthetic use of the whiteboard in the classroom (moving around the room, pointing, etc.)
  • Consider giving students a choice of what problem they wish to work.
  • Use a feedback/exit ticket.

Specific ideas for my classes:

  • Use a ‘Function Continuity at a Point’ workshop to develop a formal definition of continuity.
  • Include ideas for flashcards at the end of each section of my notes. Also, add vocabulary activities to the notes.
  • Having students work in groups in my Business Calculus (Math 1370) course went very well. How can I pare down the material to have time for even more group work in the future? Consider what applications for which there is time?
  • Remember to have my Calculus II (Math 1770) students do presentations on Integration Techniques again in the future. Remember to ask students to have handouts prepared for their presentations.
  • Continue using mastery-based online quizzes.
  • Add examples to College Algebra (Math 1415) notes of the examples of the algebra needed for calculus.
  • Watch videos in class and have a small group discussion. It could be especially useful for my Statistics (Math 1340) classes.
  • Include the ‘Mathematics of Weight Loss’ activities I created in my classes.
  • Bring back the ‘Study Skills Survey’ after each test.
  • Use the picture I took of the Hermosa Beach Pier to introduce Right Angle Trigonometry in my Trigonometry (Math 1435) classes.

First day of class suggestions:

  • Place students in groups by using numbers to match. Or consider having name cards made in advance to assign students on the first day randomly.
  • Tell students about my background and how it relates to my preparation for teaching the course.
  • Send students email before the course starts.
  • Ask students to answer the following two questions, and then discuss in small groups, report out in a large group discussion, do a gallery walk, etc.:
    • I most effectively complete mathematics when…
    • Two objects are congruent if…, what is algebra?, etc.
  • Consider doing a Hedbanz Game.
  • Ask students what they have gotten better at in the past.

Some general comments:

  • An instructor needs to teach in a format in which they are comfortable and prepared.
  • It is important to be aware of gender roles in the classroom.
  • I still need to watch myself from saying too much.

To stay accountable for what I learned during this workshop, I have developed documentation of how I am incorporating IBL Methods into all of my courses:

Math 1415 – Precalculus I: College Algebra

Math 1760 – Analytic Geometry and Calculus I

Math 1770 – Analytic Geometry and Calculus II

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