ImagineIT March Update
So at this point in the year, we are 4 weeks into the large research project. I brought in my books, showed students various resources and they are researching away. I have showed them how to edit files in the LaTeX professional typesetting software, and I have mostly taken a backseat in direct instruction. Students are studying cake-cutting fair division, game theory, origami math, cryptography, conformal mapping in the complex plane, protein folding, continued fractions, math card tricks, rubik's cube(s) and graph theory. I have asked them to write a 7-10 page paper about their project, but at the moment that seems far away. What they are doing is their first long-term bit of math research, and I want to support individual students as much as possible. However, there is a certain sense of exploring as much as possible on your own first. It's an interesting balance. I told them their paper was due on May 4th, so that's in about 9 weeks. It seems far off, but they will encounter a time-crunch when the deadline comes. I have really enjoyed the small group interactions. Students ask each other about what they are doing, and show a few things. I encourage students to write down as much of their ideas and brainstorming as possible, mostly because I believe these interactions can be incredibly fruitful. I hope every student will be happy with their finished paper by the end of the year, and it's something they can refer back to in college.