Linking CS and Math Teachers' Workshop
The Linking Computer Science to Mathematics Workshop sponsored by the Purdue University College of Science K-12 Outreach Program, Purdue Department of Computer Science, and Purdue Department of Mathematics was a success in its inaugural year. This 3-day workshop was held in the Computer Science building July 27-29, 2005. In it's first year the workshop attracted 10 teachers from across Indiana. Teaching backgrounds included math teachers, computer teachers, and special education teachers. One computer teacher said, "I found many tips for my computer science classes."
The goal of the workshop was to give mathematics and computer teachers of grades 6-12 an overview of computer science and how they can naturally integrate the computer science concepts into their classrooms. Dr. Dennis Brylow, Professor Buster Dunsmore, and Professor Greg Frederickson, all of the Department of Computer Science, led workshop participants in real life problem solving efforts to help them learn the concepts of computer science logic. They covered topics such as proof by induction, recursion and algorithms. One teacher comments, "I have a much greater sense of how I can encourage students in this area and the type of thinking needed."
The workshop included puzzles used in developing the critical thinking needed in understanding computer science. One of the fun problems presented to teachers was the Towers of Hanoi problem (see the image above) developed by French mathematician, Edouard Lucas in 1883. This challenged participants' understanding of recursive algorithms. The problem begins with three pegs and N disks of ascending diameter stacked on the start peg. The goal is to move all the disks from the start peg to the end peg. This must be done by only moving one ring at a time and a ring can only sit on top of a larger ring. In addition to challenging teachers with such brainteasers, the Linking Computer Science to Mathematics Workshop also allowed teachers the opportunity to share ideas with other teachers who have a similar desire to create fun, exciting ways to include technology and principles of computer science in their teaching strategies.