Active Learning Spotlight: Collaboration counts in mathematics education
In the new Academic Classroom and Laboratory Complex, or ACLC, Auburn students benefit from an elevated student experience with opportunities to work together and learn in a cutting-edge environment.
Heather Haskell, a lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, teaches students in this new 151,000-square-foot facility.
“It allows more students to come in and gain from what Auburn has to offer,” said Haskell. “It allows for more community, and it gives us an opportunity for students to take more pride—as if they didn’t already with Auburn—but to take more pride in what’s going on, knowing that we are trying to keep up and updating things and moving towards newer things.”
Haskell teaches MATH 2580, Mathematics for Elementary Education. in ACLC.
The perimeters of the classroom feature glass boards where faculty and students can easily write. The chairs are color-coded to match the background of the boards, so it is easy to determine groups. The walls behind the glass board are blue, orange, green and yellow matching the colored cushions of the chairs.
In this class, these future educators were asked to draw a picture in groups using the context and concept of subtraction based upon models such as the takeaway set model.
“Students are learning how to recognize and present the underlying concepts of mathematical processes in many ways that children can relate to and understand,” Haskell said.
The set-up of the room provides an opportunity for students to easily work together by moving chairs and desks. The faculty can easily write or even highlight important points that can be easily seen on all monitors in the room.
Kennedy Maddox, an elementary education major in the class, shared her student perspective of the new classroom.
“I like the glass boards all around the classroom and that we can even write on the glass over the monitors,” said Maddox. “Instead of just looking forward for the entire class, students get to be engaged interacting with the entire room.”
Even the design of the chairs make a difference in active learning.
"'The comfortable, accommodating seating makes it possible to navigate the room to work with other groups and see all the monitors. They are easy to move around in, so that I can see what everyone writes around the room and allows my brain to swap between monitors and Mrs. Haskell during class," Maddox added.