Orlando Meetings: Presentation Summary

Back to Orlando: Pre-Service Teacher Ed

This is the summary of a presentation given at the Joint Mathematics Meetings, January 10-13, 1996, Orlando, Florida.

Open-Ended Logo Projects-A Natural Active Learning Environment

I teach Logo and Problem Solving, a four quarter-hour course for both preservice and inservice teachers, with a philosophy and methodology based on inquiry and thus, active learning. l begin the course with a minimum of commands to allow the students to begin solving "geometry problems," such as drawing a rectangle and drawing a triangle. Only when the students decide that there must be an easier way to solve their problems than using only the commands of FD, BK, RT, LT do we discuss REPEAT. This leads to the introduction of variables and procedures, but only when they are ready to explore these new ideas. Because most of us need a reason to want to learn new ideas, during the second week, I assign an open-ended project due near the end of the quarter, and a capstone project that each student must define individually. A project that I have found to be rich enough to accommodate the students' wide background and their different learning styles is the creation of a flowered wallpaper. The emphasis is not solely on the finished product, but on the process of actively applying one's knowledge and understanding to new problem situations. Using projects as a mechanism for learning allows me to be a facilitator, modeling the kind of teaching necessary for students to actively learn. I will provide brief examples of the students' code to show the wide variability of their approaches, together with examples of their finished results from both the wallflower and capstone projects.

Dr. Susann M. Mathews
Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Wright State University
Dayton, OH 45435
email: smathews@desire.wright.edu

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