Applications and props: the impact on engagement and understanding

Alexander S Corner, Claire Cornock


Problems based on applications or objects were added into a first year pure module in gaps where real-life problems were missing. Physical props were incorporated within the teaching sessions where it was possible. The additions to the module were the utilities problem whilst studying planar graphs, data storage when looking at number bases, RSA encryption after modular arithmetic and the Euclidean algorithm, as well as molecules and the mattress problem when looking at group theory. The physical objects used were tori, molecule models and mini mattresses. Evaluation was carried out through a questionnaire to gain the students' opinions of these additions and their general views of applications. Particular attention was paid to the effect on engagement and understanding.


Use of applications; physical props; manipulatives; engagement and understanding

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