MAT 142 focuses on real-world application problems for non-science/engineering students. These students typically do not like math and struggle in understanding the concepts.
To help students understand the material better and increase motivation, I placed students in mixed ability groups and required students complete an experiment-based activity and set of application problems at the end of each unit. These activities included tasks such as determining the area and perimeter of various geometric figures using compound shapes and distinguishing between theoretical and experimental probability through dice games.
I applied this strategy in two 8-week courses this semester. The first 8-week section had a strong increase in performance with a 93.75% pass rate and 85.13% grade average, whereas the second 8-week section had a pass rate of 92.8% but only a 75.17% grade average. This compares with a 87.4% pass rate and 74.75% grade average during the previous 16-week session. This increase in both “pass rate” and average performance appears to be significant enough to continue this strategy in the future.