David Epstein writes about possible capstone courses. We will teach our first capstone course next fall. Simpson is a small,liberal arts college (1965 students) and we graduate approximately 15 math majors each year.
We are currently trying to decide exactly what to teach in the capstone course next fall. The departments original idea only included the requirements that the students learn to do some independent research and they work on communication skills (writing and presenting mathematics). We plan to team teach the course.
We discovered in our first organizational meeting that we all have different visions of the course. I think it will end up being a course which begins with an axiomatic system (from which area, I don't know: algebra, geometry, topology, analysis?) and statements to prove from those axioms. We do not have another course that is taught in that way.
Since at least one third of our graduates will be teaching in the secondary schools, I worry that they will not see the relavance of such a capstone course. The argument from some of our faculty is that the students will learn the value of conjecture and validation and will pass that on to our students.
Other ideas? I would love to hear them and pass them on to our department.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ M. E. "Murphy" Waggoner Assistant Professor of Mathematics Simpson College firstname.lastname@example.org www.simpson.edu/~math ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Simpson College Chapter, Habitat for Humanity Faculty Advisor "A hand up, not a handout." www.habitat.org ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This is an unmoderated distribution list discussing post-calculus teaching and learning of mathematics.---David.Epstein@warwick.ac.uk
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