Math class uses creative teaching tool

Math class uses creative teaching tool

by Morgan Perkins

Students in the math for elementary education class quickly learned that their textbooks weren’t going to be the only thing they would utilize in the class.

The students in this class are currently working on making a quilt out of mathematical concepts.

The idea came from a couple of different things, according to Murphy Waggoner, associate professor of mathematics.

“A lot of publications in mathematics talk about visualization, using proofs without words,” Waggoner said.

Another reason was because of a previous directed study Waggoner had done with a student.

“The student told me I should try making a quilt with some of my classes,” Waggoner said.

One student of the class looks at making the quilt as a good learning project.

Junior Josh Merchant said that by making the quilt he was able to learn more about a mathematical concept than he would have under normal circumstances.

To begin with, the students were paired up and each pair was given a math concept. From there, they had to create their own design that related to that concept, according to sophomore Sarah Miller.

“My group’s first idea was too difficult so we had to change it,” Miller said.

“First we did worksheets on concepts we’ve learned about. Then we had to think of a design and we had to cut every piece out ourselves,” Merchant said.

If everything wasn’t measured perfectly then the quilt block wouldn’t piece together with the other ones, according to Merchant.

Waggoner said that the students are very proud of the result of all their hard work.

“They designed each block. The creative process was done all by themselves,” Waggoner said.

The quilting will take some time to complete, but when it is all finished, Waggoner intends for it to be used to benefit Simpson.

“First the quilt has to be quilted together and we hope it’s done before next fall,” Waggoner said.

The quilt will either be raffled off or auctioned off; the money that the quilt brings in will go to Simpson in some way, according to Waggoner.