The first-year differential calculus course at College of the Rockies is anything but a traditional math course.
Fun wouldn’t normally be a word used to describe calculus, but professor Leslie Molnar trying to make the subject more interesting through gamification.
“I have never been great in math but [this course] has allowed me to improve on that.” says student Seamus Damstrom. “The creative concept was intriguing and allowed me to solve problems that were actually kind of fun.”
The whole course is taught in the form of a quest to find a sunken ship with valuable emeralds. The catch is that students must achieve an 80 per cent grade or higher to move onto the next quest which ensures they are understanding the content.
“Instead of just moving on and having an incomplete understanding, they just go back and spend time with material and get the help that they need until they understand it.” explains Molnar. “They’re much more prepared because they’re coming at it with a really great foundation.”
The program still contains all of the content that a first-year calculus course would have, including a mid-term and final exam.
Molnar says the pilot program was so successful it will be offered again next winter term for both first-year and second-year students.
– Devin Howard
– COTR professor Leslie Molnar