Eric D. Gyllenhaal (EGyllenhaal@SelindaResearch.com) is a senior research associate at Selinda Research Associates, Inc., 801 South Plymouth Court, Suite #521, Chicago, Illinois 60605.
Memories of Math: Visitors' Experiences in an Exhibiton about Calculus
Article first published online: 15 JAN 2010
2006 California Academy of Sciences
Curator: The Museum Journal
Volume 49, Issue 3, pages 345–364, July 2006
How to Cite
Gyllenhaal, E. D. (2006), Memories of Math: Visitors' Experiences in an Exhibiton about Calculus. Curator: The Museum Journal, 49: 345–364. doi: 10.1111/j.2151-6952.2006.tb00228.x
- Issue published online: 15 JAN 2010
- Article first published online: 15 JAN 2010
Abstract Handling Calculus is a set of interactive exhibits about mathematics developed by the Science Museum of Minnesota and TERC. The exhibits are designed to engage visitors with kinesthetic, application-oriented, and concept-focused approaches to calculus and pre-calculus concepts. As we examined visitor interviews collected during the evaluation of Handling Calculus, it was striking how often respondents' experiences with the exhibits stimulated memories they associated with school math. Respondents recognized math terms and symbols, reconstructed graphing skills, and recalled fragmentary concepts they had learned in school. In addition, they recounted stories about their former math teachers and the ways in which they had been taught mathematics, as well as a range of both positive and negative emotions they associated with school math. Respondents recognized and valued the hands-on and whole-body approaches used in Handling Calculus, contrasting the exhibits with their paper-and-pencil school experiences. Some respondents wondered if they would have done better at school calculus if their teachers had used the approaches taken by Handling Calculus.