Direction Fields

Submitted by Becky Baranowski on

Students struggle with using direction fields to solve a given problem.  In the 1st two semesters, lecture was primarily used with handouts and group work being utlized more in the last 3 semesters.  Students have continually received a C grade on the direction field exam question and a C/B average on homework questions.  In Fall 2014, the handout was modified, and students worked in groups with no guidance from the instructor.  Technology as incorporated as well (MATLAB) to graph the direction fields.  Once students finished the handout, follow up was given by me.  Also, direction fields have been emphasized and related to 2 other concepts in the course showing how they all relate (Euler's Method, Runga-Kutta).  In F14, students still struggled.  Basically - students struggle with interpretting answers/solutions. In SP15 - students improved their scores on direction fields.  What was different?  The handout was updated, again, and more practice was done in and outside of class.  Students also had to draw direction fields by hand instead of just using MATLAB.  Average score was a B in SP15. 

Completed Full Cycle
Course Number
Average: 4.3 (6 votes)


Bronwen Steele Thu, 09/11/2014 - 4:16pm

Hey Becky so they are keeping the same score on the homework question? Is there a quiz or exam for this also and do they show the same results? 

Becky Baranowski Thu, 09/11/2014 - 5:35pm

The homework improved slightly, but not significantly. I really thought this semester would show improvement. I have some ideas for next year, though.

Peter Turner Sat, 09/13/2014 - 11:18am

I sure know that feeling of struggling to get our students to grasp a difficult concept. But I love how you are internalizing and continuing to search for a better way; that's the CATS way!

Diane Givens Sat, 09/13/2014 - 11:21am

Great  concept that is applicable to all disciplines.

Heather Muns Mon, 09/15/2014 - 3:28pm

Very interesting.  I like that, even though you closed the loop, you plan on continuing to try new things until you get the results you are looking for.  

Anil Kapoor Thu, 10/02/2014 - 1:27pm

Its great to see your trying new techniques to deliver the same information. I would love to see what you do next year so I can try to implement the same solution for a few of my more difficult topics.

Peter Turner Tue, 03/24/2015 - 2:00pm

It seems you have "funneled" your students to improved academic growth! Nice application of the action research cycle, Becky. A few questions: when your students are working in groups, how do you hold all of your students accountable? Do they turn in one product per group, or do they all have to turn in their own "Directions Fields" sheet?