Intro to Summations - PowerPoint vs. Handouts

Submitted by Becky Baranowski on

In calculus I, summation notation is introduced for finding area under a curve using an infinite number of rectangles. From Fall 04 to Spring 15, I utilized a Power Point to introduce the concept. A lecture would be given with interactive moments throughout the lesson. Students would try problems on their own and in teams. The scores on the exam averaged a mid to high D. Approximately 40% of the class would show little to no work on summation problems. Each semester, the lesson would be updated. Yet, exam scores stayed at a D average with no improvement on summations. In Fall 15 and Spring 16, I created a handout (see attached) for students where they read through the handout, followed examples, created their own examples and tried problems on their own and in groups. Some instruction was given by me. Quantitative Results: Fall 15 - exam average D, with roughly 20% showing little to no work on summations Spring 15 - average C with roughly 15% of the students showing little or no work on summations. While the average last semester was still a D, students improved their score on the summation portion of exam. Clearly, I still need to work on improving other concepts on exam.

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area-under-curve.pdf 947.86 KB
Average: 4.5 (2 votes)


Peter Turner Tue, 04/19/2016 - 12:38pm

I like how, despite some improvement, you are still going to strive upon improving what is a good idea. I'm reminded of that definition of a good pedagogue: a persistent discomfort with the status quo! Well done.

Jennifer Shannon Thu, 04/21/2016 - 8:07am

I would be interested to see if there is improvementas you work to tweak it some. I think this would be helpful for my class.