cvonrenesse's blog

Blog Posts by Dr. Christine von Renesse


Do your students experience the messiness of doing mathematics, searching for patterns, trying and failing in explaining an idea before they come to a complete argument?

Using name tags to group students

In the first class I ask students to write their name on a notecard and to place it in front of them. At the end of class I collect the name tags and in the beginning of the next class, I will set them up again, likely in different places. I call this strategy one of the “control knobs” of an IBL instructor, because where and with whom the students work has a big influence on the effectiveness of their learning.

Cool thing: Bee dance

Think of the 5 coolest things you know in mathematics. Did you ever think about including them in your MLA course? You can, and perhaps should.
“Cool things” are short “mini presentations or activities” about a mathematical topic that is exciting to us and usually different from the math content that we are currently working on in class.


Student journaling

At least once a semester I ask my students to write a journal. My main goal of this assignment is to monitor students’ buy-in into my IBL classroom. How is IBL working for them? What is not working? What could they change to improve their learning? What can I change?

I start every semester with a mathematical autobiography. Each student submits his or her own story describing their history as a learner of mathematics.