I on the Prize: Inquiry Approaches in Undergraduate Mathematics

Abstract

In the United States (US) and elsewhere across the world, undergraduate mathematics instructors are increasingly aware of the value of inquiry-based instruction. In this research commentary, we describe the intellectual origins and development of two major strands of inquiry in US higher education, offer an explanation for apparent differences in these strands, and argue that they be united under a common vision of Inquiry-Based Mathematics Education (IBME). Central to this common vision are four pillars of IBME: student engagement in meaningful mathematics, student collaboration for sensemaking, instructor inquiry into student thinking, and equitable instructional practice to include all in rigorous mathematical learning and mathematical identity-building. We conclude this commentary with a call for a four-pronged agenda for research and practice focused on learning trajectories, transferable skills, equity, and a systems approach.

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Acknowledgments

Portions of this work were supported by the National Science Foundation’s Division of Undergraduate Education, awards #1347669, #1525077 and #1624639. All findings and opinions are those of the authors and not the National Science Foundation.

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Laursen, S.L., Rasmussen, C. I on the Prize: Inquiry Approaches in Undergraduate Mathematics. Int. J. Res. Undergrad. Math. Ed. 5, 129–146 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40753-019-00085-6

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Keywords

  • Active learning
  • Inquiry-based learning
  • Inquiry-based mathematics education
  • Inquiry-oriented instruction
  • Undergraduate mathematics education