involvement in undergraduate education. The Center is equally involved in K-12 education, graduate education, and professional development.
Our goal in K-12 education is to develop curriculum that will increase one's ability to visualize spatial relationships (especially three-dimensional geometry) and will also expose students to mathematical ideas that are not traditionally found in the K-12 curriculum. For example, we are currently working with high school teachers to develop supplemental curricula that complement Center-developed software and videos. The material will help bring the mathematics of symmetry, regular solids, and linear transformations into the K-12 classrooms. We expect that students who are exposed to these ideas at an early age will be more likely to succeed in future engineering tasks (such as designing a mechanical device using a CAD/CAM system) in which spatial reasoning is essential.
The Geometry Center is also involved in a number of projects designed to encourage women and underrepresented minorities to pursue careers in the mathematical sciences. For example, over the past two years we have hosted a Young Scholar's program in which 6-8th grade students attend a "math camp" for two weeks in the summer. These students are introduced to rich mathematical ideas such as the fourth dimension, hyperbolic space and Platonic and Archimedean solids, while they use interactive visualization software developed at the Center for both research and discovery. These students also build models, solve problems, and go on field trips to science-related laboratories, such as the University of Minnesota Virtual Reality lab, in order to experience the excitement of science.
At the level of graduate education, the Center has hired several University graduate students to work on Center projects as research assistants. The students gain programming and visualization expertise as they work on problems in mathematics and computational science. Several graduate students have also become involved in educational projects such as designing curricula for an undergraduate math course for preservice and inservice high school teachers. A portion of this course was devoted to helping teachers develop hypertext documents that explore concepts in high school geometry. As a result of their Center activities, the graduate students that work at Center are able to show future employers a resume packed full of experiences that are not typically available to their peers.
At the level of postgraduate education, the Center postdocs have been involved in the entire range of Center activities, from research to curriculum development to the construction of mathematical software. The postdocs have taught courses and supervised summer projects. They have worked with high school teachers, with high school students, and with the Young Scholars program. They have developed new ways to communicate mathematical ideas to the scientific community and have created new approaches to compute and visualize mathematical objects in ways that give insight into the objects' geometric structure. The Center prides itself in providing an environment in which postdocs can continue to learn and can prepare themselves both scientifically and educationally for a career in a rapidly changing technological world.
Finally, the Center is keenly interested in disseminating its materials, software, videos, and educational materials to other institutions. Each year we host a variety of scientific workshops that bring together leading researchers in mathematics, applications, and software development. We have also hosted a "networking" workshop at which college and university faculty discussed educational issues such as the role of technology and visualization in instruction. This workshop also featured a lively discussion of the current reward system at the collegiate level, and how this system might change to better reward faculty who are engaged in quality educational initiatives. Meetings such as this complement the Center's scientific workshops, and identify the Center as an environment where the research and educational missions reinforce each other.
Author: Frederick J. Wicklin <email@example.com>
Comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Created: Fri Aug 18 1995 --- Last modified: Jul 21 1996
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