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Enhancing the Ability to Identify and Use Mathematical Concepts

Daniela Richtarikova

Department of Mathematics and Physics, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering Slovak University of Technology Bratislava, Slovakia

The paper deals with the results of project work integration into regular teaching of “Basics of Numerical Mathematics” in bachelor studies with common conception of course, based on traditional lectures and exercises aided by CAS Mathematica. The pedagogical experiment took place at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering STU in Bratislava and it summarizes the outputs obtained during two school years 2013/2014 and 2014/2015. Its realization proceeded on experience obtained in pre- experimental observations, applied on special group of students retaking the course in previous school year (discussed in last SEFI seminar).

Usually, in project method, the tasks for students are formulated in the form of complex, time demanding technical or other assignments. In order to affect the students’ ability of identification and usage of numerical methods we turned this approach, and asked students to find suitable technical problem for given numerical method. This allows us to monitor students’ ability to recognize the mathematical concept and identify suitable technical problem; to formulate goal of the task from technical and from numerical point of view; to solve the problem using available numerical methods, compare results, and to formulate and discuss a solution and interpret it in technical application.

The paper will present the experiment summary, results, conclusions and polemics; and it will also discuss further plans dealing with ways of integration of technical applications into teaching numerical methods at bachelor studies.