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Carling Sugarman

Thesis

Using Topology to Explore Mathematics Education Reform

Advisor
Jon Jacobsen
Second Reader(s)
Michael E. Orrison

Abstract

Mathematics education is a constant topic of conversation in the United States. Many attempts have been made over the last fifty years to reform teaching methods and improve student results. Recent ideas have emphasized problem-solving to make math feel more applicable and enjoyable. Additionally, the widespread problem of “math anxiety” has been tackled by creating lessons that are more discussion-based than drill-based to shift focus from speed and accuracy. In this thesis, we explored past reform goals and some added goals concerning students' perceptions of mathematics. We developed and tested a pilot workshop in topology, a creative and intuitive field of mathematics, for use in 4th–6th grade classrooms. Preliminary results suggest some success in altering student views on mathematics.

Additional Materials

Poster