Professor tries to show future teachers how to make math fun


CHARLOTTESVILLE — Algebra is a hands-on subject for students in Michael D. Smith’s graduate-level classes at the University of Virginia.

“We have used Jenga blocks, colored pencils and bulls-eyes, Frisbees, encrypted messages, cinder blocks, two-by-fours and contra dancing,” said Smith, who is teaching his popular summer course, Proofs in Algebra, to graduate students and some advanced undergraduates.

Algebra is the study of the familiar logic rules governing the addition of real numbers and the search for other objects governed by the same rules, he said.

Smith, 29, a member of the summer faculty, uses contra dancing to show all the reflections and rotations of a square.  Read more.


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