Date of Thesis

Fall 2018

Thesis Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts

Major

Mathematics

First Advisor

Lara Dick

Second Advisor

Abby Flynt

Keywords

Calculus, Education, Integration, Differentiation, Launch-Explore-Summarize

Abstract

Current research on high school calculus instruction indicates that students often possess a procedural knowledge of differentiation and integration as opposed to a conceptual knowledge (Orton, 1983; Ferrini-Mundy & Graham, 1994). Given the prominence of traditional lecture and textbook-based calculus classes in the United States, students are not always given the opportunity to expand their conceptual knowledge of essential calculus concepts. This project introduces calculus students to a more active and communal method of teaching: Launch-Explore-Summarize (LES) (CMP, n.d.). This methodology places students at the center of their learning and emphasizes inquiry-based thinking during a class. Specifically, two LES lessons are designed and taught in high school calculus classes in order to offer students a conceptual basis for thinking about differentiation and integration. Lesson data and student feedback are discussed in relation to traditional calculus instruction, and ultimately offer insight into the potential effectiveness of LES in high school calculus. The study finds that LES lessons are effective in collaboratively engaging students with calculus material and that LES is largely effective in helping students conceptually learn differentiation and integration. Lastly, it finds that traditional calculus teachers are skeptical of LES-based curricula and that these viewpoints contrast with student perceptions of LES.

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