After assisting with mathematics courses at Technical University of Denmark (DTU), several high school teachers realized how big of a gap there was between high school mathematics courses and university courses. DTU, in conjunction with the Danish Ministry of Education, wanted to find a way to help students bridge that gap and be better prepared for post-secondary education.
Professors from DTU worked with various high schools to integrate Maple into Gymnasium math courses, thereby putting STEM students on the same page as university students, and making the transition into university much smoother.” Maple was eventually adopted into 110 of 160 high schools in Denmark to ease the switch from high school to university mathematics. Students are also required to complete a major project using Maple in their final year of high school and submit a detailed report.
The result of this initiative is that students are better prepared for entering into post-secondary education. Their awareness of mathematics concepts and applications has increased, facilitating a greater retention of knowledge and the ability to apply what they’ve learned to advanced topics.
The initiative also led to the development of a video series to showcase visualizations from Maple, and to encourage students to pursue mathematics.
Mathematics has always played a central role in secondary school curriculum in Denmark. The Danish Ministry of Education continues to emphasize its importance as it mandates reforms and new standards that students are expected to meet in order to graduate. The country’s high standards of mathematics have led to the adoption of Maple in 110 of 160 Denmark high schools. Maple is a software tool from Maplesoft that makes it easy to explore, visualize and solve problems in mathematics.
Maple’s entry into the high school scene in Denmark first began when a group of mathematics professors at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) hired a few high school math teachers to help them with one of their largest math courses. The professors benefited from more than just their help in class, though. The experience also opened their eyes to how students learn mathematics in the years leading up to the time they enter the University, and how different that was compared to the learning methods at DTU. “At that time, there was disconnect between how students were used to learning math, and how we taught math at DTU,” noted Professor Steen Markvorsen, one of the DTU professors. “We used to spend a lot of time and effort each year bringing students up to speed so all the students were on the same page.” This led to the idea that high schools, known in Denmark as Gymnasiums, and DTU could work together to bridge the gap between secondary and post-secondary schools. In doing so, students would be better equipped for their studies at the university level.
To get the initiative off the ground, Markvorsen and his colleagues made presentations to high schools around Denmark to gain support for the idea. “As we discussed ideas with school representatives, what became clear is that high school teachers endorsed the concept that using mathematic tools to help students would be a great way of preparing them for higher levels of education,” explained Markvorsen. “As they got to know Maple, they agreed it would be an ideal tool to help bridge the gap. Integrating Maple into Gymnasium math courses would put STEM students on the same page as university students, and they would find the transition into university much smoother.”
Figures: Steen Markvorsen uses Maple to develop an intuitive proof of Euler’s theorem for the normal curvatures of surfaces
Professor Steen Markvorsen discusses foam structures and minimal surfaces, including mean curvature surfaces using Maple (video is in Danish)
Contact Maplesoft to learn how Maple can be used in your classroom.