Math on film

Movies like A Beautiful Mind notwithstanding, mathematics rarely gets top billing, or even a cameo appearance, in Hollywood movies. But students in Robert Roe’s Foundations of Mathematics class at Missouri S&T starred in a film of their own hoping to better understand a learning method with roots almost as old as mathematics itself.


Every classroom session of Math 209 was caught on film to help make a method called inquiry-based learning more understandable. Roe serves as facilitator, providing a set of complex mathematical word-problems. The students present their results to the class. “It’s the other students’ job to critique the results and ask questions,” Roe says. “What we’re really trying to do is to get down to the basics of understanding the material, rather than just knowing the algorithm.”
The project was funded by the Educational Advancement Foundation. S&T was one of only a few universities across the nation chosen for the program.

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