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Game Theory & Recreational Mathematics: A module to develop problem-solving skills

Faculty of STA Learning, Teaching and Assessment Conference 2019, Sheffield Hallam University (09/09/2019). With Alex Corner, David O'Sullivan, Edd Smith and Jeff Waldock.

Abstract:
The presentation outlines the design and development of a new final year, optional module 'Game Theory and Recreational Mathematics', and reports on the first year of delivery in 2018/19. The module aims to give students an appreciation of the history and culture of their discipline as well as providing an opportunity to develop skills associated with being a graduate in general and a mathematics graduate in particular, particularly around problem-solving. We argue that games and recreations are a suitable mechanism to develop topics and skills that is popular with students.
The module emphasises the role of problem-solving. An interesting feature is in assessment, including an exam where students are given problems they may not be able to solve, with marks awarded for showing a problem-solving methodology. Problem-solving is focused on a Polya-style heuristic. This talk will discuss explicit teaching of problem-solving and its assessment, including sharing the experience of marking this exam. Student feedback on the first year of delivery will be discussed, including positive feedback relating to unseen problem-solving.
The background research which this module implements, around the use of games and recreational topics in education, was driven by ES while he was an undergraduate.

I teach mathematics at Sheffield Hallam University and am a researcher focused on higher education mathematics educational practice. Find out more about Peter Rowlett. This website also houses lists of my publications and talks I have given.

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