Student Uses Maple to Learn by Teaching Others

Challenge

Mikkel Bjoern, a gifted math student in Denmark, wanted a tool to enable easier and more accurate calculation of problems and formulas, supporting his completion of assignments and enhancing his performance in mathematics competitions.

Solution

Mikkel began using Maple in his math and science work to assist with computational elements, allowing him to focus a greater amount of attention on the problem itself. He also used it to prepare for various math competitions, some that require completing work more advanced than his current level of study.

Result

Maple simplified Mikkel’s work and improved his preparation for competitions and assignments. This allowed him to refine his focus and more efficiently work through and solve complex problems. Mikkel also uses Maple to teach younger students, which in turn allows him to strengthen his own knowledge and education.

Mikkel Bjoern, a gifted math student in Denmark, is using Maple to study in a unique way – by teaching other students. Already possessing an aptitude for math, Mikkel devotes part of his time to teaching younger students, and is able to learn more in the process. Mikkel has already passed math curriculum and exams that are at least a year advanced than his year of study. He now uses Maple to study chemistry, math and physics as well as participate in many competitions.

According to Mikkel, Maple makes solving math problems easier and more accurate. It helps students check their work and prevents them from getting lost in complex computations. “While I’m working on a problem, I’m also recording what I’m doing, so reporting my work is very easy, unlike software that other instructors use. In many cases, students get stuck on simple mathematical errors that may skew their final answers. Maple helps students avoid this, allowing them to focus on the problem solving process.”

“Maple is most useful for my science courses,” says Mikkel. “It can do all the computational work for me so that I can focus on the problem I’m trying to solve. It’s not that I couldn’t do it myself, but Maple makes it easier and takes away the grunt work.”

Maple has helped Mikkel succeed in several competitions including the Georg Mohr and A-Lympiad competitions. The Georg Mohr competition, considered the Danish Math Olympiad, consists of independent problem solving sessions. Six students are chosen to participate in the International Math Olympiad, solving complex problems. Mikkel explains that Maple helped him prepare for the competition this year. “Last year I didn’t do very well, but this year I am in the top five for my first exam.” Mikkel also participated in The Mathematics A-Lympiad, a competition in which Mikkel and his team mates used Maple on a real life mathematical modelling problem.

In the National Physics Competition, Mikkel solved physics problems that are at least one year more advanced than his level of study. “Maple’s computational power helped us greatly in solving these advanced problems,” says Mikkel.

Mikkel also uses Maple as a teaching tool when he trains primary school students. “I really enjoy teaching these students. What motivates me is that I get better at math and physics myself when I teach with Maple.” Teaching allows Mikkel to help other students and further his own education in a unique, interactive way. He used to teach using pen and paper, but using software like Maple allows students to visualize complex problems, enhancing their understanding. After a year of teaching students with traditional methods, Mikkel now uses Maple to teach his students during his math and physics classes. “Maple makes learning complex concepts more fun and easier to understand,” says Mikkel.

Students are spread all across Denmark, so Maple’s online learning features, such as the MapleCloud, allow Mikkel to easily help more students, as he is able to add online content and assignments.

Mikkel meets his students at Talentcamp, a math program for talented students in primary school. Talentcamp is based on a philosophy that encourages students to have fun with their studies and move to more advanced levels at their own pace. Students are assigned mentors like Mikkel, who teach them during the year. “This program lets me meet and interact with like-minded students. It is also nice to be engaged with students who love math as much as I do. I got so much from Talentcamp and I want to give back.”

Maple is especially useful for Danish students to learn math because of the Danish Gym package in Maple. The Gym package is an add-on for Maple containing built-in lessons that make working with Maple easier. It includes worksheets for descriptive statistics, regressions, trigonometry, determinations of reactions in 2D and 3D, statistical tests and equation solving. The package also features apps to calculate regression, triangle calculation and Chi-squared tests.

Designed to fit the Danish curriculum, Maple Gym makes teaching more streamlined by making exercises easily accessible with a single click. “Many problems are already solved in the Danish Maple Gym package, so I use that to teach the students,” says Mikkel. “Maple is a really powerful tool for learning the Danish math curriculum, and the exams become much easier with Maple as a learning resource. Math with Maple is a powerful combination,” says Mikkel.

With the help of Maple, Mikkel is cultivating a mathematics student community and hopes to teach them programming in the future. Mikkel plans to pursue his passion for math in university.

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