Discrete math demonstration ideas

Matthias Felleisen matthias at ccs.neu.edu
Tue Jan 31 08:04:27 EST 2006

On Jan 31, 2006, at 3:00 AM, Aaron Bloomfield wrote:

> And something that, with a bit of showmanship, can really "wake up" 
> the class

This is not what you want but has a better effect and is more routine:

One of my colleagues asks students to send him a picture at the
beginning of the course, so that he can learn their names. He
puts those pictures into an "electronic lottery" and uses it to
call on people during class. Once a student's picture comes up --
with drum roll of course -- a countdown begins. If the student
can answer the question during the countdown, my colleague adds
a + to the student's name; otherwise it's a -. (He can also type
in other remarks.) At the end of the semester he hands out yeah
many karma points for good participation.

The pedagogic effect is that he has three dozen mini-quizzes
during every lecture (85mins). Students prepare themselves better
for each lecture and overall they are better prepared for midterms
and finals. And he does learn their names.

Naturally the program is written in a functional manner so it
could also be used to demonstrate the use of mathematics and
the study of invariants. (The random number is an input.)

-- Matthias

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