This case of teaching contains excerpts from Steven Strogatz’s undergraduate math course called, “Mathematical Explorations” at Cornell University. The video case begins on the second day of the Pennies and Paperclips task. The students spent a day playing the game and making conjectures as to which player will win the game. In this second day of the task, students try to prove one of their conjectures. We encourage you to try the task, which is posed at the beginning, before watching the remainder of the video case.
We love this case of teaching, as it shows students working together to make sense of a conjecture and the proof of the conjecture. Steve’s facilitation of the class creates space for the students to develop their understanding and further their thinking. In his facilitation of the class he allows the mathematical thinking and ideas to come from the students.
Steven is the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Applied Mathematics and Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow at Cornell University. He is a world-renowned mathematician and was recently awarded the Weiss Fellow Teaching award. He is a New York Times columnist and author of The Joy of x, Synch and The Calculus of Friendship.