“The wild side of math”: experimenting with group theory. (English)

Dewar, Jacqueline (ed.) et al., Mathematics education. A spectrum of work in mathematical sciences departments. Cham: Springer (ISBN 978-3-319-44949-4/hbk; 978-3-319-44950-0/ebook). Association for Women in Mathematics Series 7, 199-211 (2016).

Summary: Group theory has traditionally been taught to mathematics majors using the “theorem-proof-example” format. Although this method of presentation is satisfying to a mathematician, many students have difficulty learning the concepts of group theory this way. More than 20 years ago, I transformed my abstract algebra classroom into an active learning environment by using the software package Exploring Small Groups. In this chapter, I describe my approach, illustrating it with a specific example, and discuss its impact on my students, my career and other mathematicians.