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Interdisciplinary and Inquiry-based Teaching of Calculus

We will discuss the STEM Talent Expansion Program (STEP) project methods that were effective in advancing student success at the University of South Florida (USF). The STEP project at USF is based on the premise that Success in Calculus is the gateway to success in the STEM fields. This project is aimed at increasing STEM graduates through intervention programs in the Engineering and Life Science Calculus sequences. Through this project we have developed and implemented several transportable strategies such as, one-stop extended hour tutoring lab (STEM Mart), project-based teaching, and peer leading. STEM Mart is a tutoring center that provides undergraduate students in the STEM disciplines an opportunity to receive free tutoring from other successful undergraduate students selected by the program. In project based teaching, we introduced "bridge" projects into Engineering Calculus II and III and Life Sciences Calculus II. Students work with a faculty member or supervisor in their workplace to define a problem, write and analyze appropriate equations, and write a narrative report. In peer leading, we developed a curriculum of inquiry-based activities, following the Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning. Undergraduate peer leaders lead weekly, 50-minute, guided-inquiry sessions in Engineering and Life Science Calculus I. These multiple strategies have transformed the teaching of calculus at USF and are leading to increased retention and pass rates for students. The overall pass rate went from about 50-55% pass rate before project inception to about 70-73% by the end of six years.

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Tags: STEM, I-CUBED, RISE, STEP, outside speaker
Format: presentation
Event ID: 01340

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