Today was the day. Monday’s classes were cancelled due to extreme cold temperatures. (It was dangerous.) That left today as the day to “restart” everything.

I am pleased to report that it went well. The students presented on 10 of the 12 problems I set for them, they had some lively discussion, and everyone left with a better attitude.

I think this is going to turn out okay. The real trouble will be figuring out how well I am incorporating Sage. I will have to start asking questions that push students to the software pretty soon. And I am not 100% certain how to do that.

For now, I am happy because I have a plan: ask interesting questions near the text. Write lots of them as “make an example or explain why you can’t” and expect discussion that focuses on reasoning even if it doesn’t quite rise to a formal proof. If I can continue to write good tasks, this will turn out.

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Let us know if you figure out how to incorporate Sage. So far, I have mainly been telling them to use it to check their work on examples they make up. For instance, I want them to know how to find eigenvalues of a matrix; I tell students to practice by making up nxn matrices, trying to find the eigenvalues, and checking their work against Sage.

But there must be a better way to use it.

somehow, I want to get to the point where it is glaringly obvious that you need computational help. We shall see. The trouble is that I naturally think up questions that I can do knowing the theory, without computation!

But THEY don’t know the theory, do they? Give them the questions anyway and see what happens. 😀