PRIMUS: problems, resources, and issues in mathematics undergraduate studies (Primus)

Publisher: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Taylor & Francis

Journal description

PRIMUS is a refereed journal devoted to dialogue and exchange of ideas among those interested in teaching undergraduate mathematics. This includes those who prepare students for college level mathematics, those who teach college level mathematics, and those who receive students who have been taught college level mathematics. Each issue contains relevant and worthwhile material for those interested in collegiate mathematics education. While the primary interest is in first person descriptive and narrative articles about implemented teaching strategies and interesting mathematics, there is also opportunity for writing broad survey articles, formal studies of new teaching approaches, assessments of planned and in place strategies, and general discussion writing on teaching undergraduate mathematics. The journal motto, "The lightning spark of the thought generated in the solitary mind awakens in another mind . . ." by the Scottish essayist Thomas Carlyle means that publishing in PRIMUS is a way of sharing ideas so that others can use and build upon the author's efforts. We welcome your ideas and experiences.

Current impact factor: 0.00

Impact Factor Rankings

Additional details

5-year impact 0.00
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Immediacy index 0.00
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Article influence 0.00
Website Primus website
Other titles PRIMUS (Terre Haute, Ind.), PRIMUS, Problems, resources, and issues in mathematics undergraduate studies
ISSN 1051-1970
OCLC 21889576
Material type Periodical, Internet resource
Document type Journal / Magazine / Newspaper, Internet Resource

Publisher details

Taylor & Francis

  • Pre-print
    • Author can archive a pre-print version
  • Post-print
    • Author can archive a post-print version
  • Conditions
    • Some individual journals may have policies prohibiting pre-print archiving
    • On author's personal website or departmental website immediately
    • On institutional repository or subject-based repository after either 12 months embargo
    • Publisher's version/PDF cannot be used
    • On a non-profit server
    • Published source must be acknowledged
    • Must link to publisher version
    • Set statements to accompany deposits (see policy)
    • The publisher will deposit in on behalf of authors to a designated institutional repository including PubMed Central, where a deposit agreement exists with the repository
    • STM: Science, Technology and Medicine
    • Publisher last contacted on 25/03/2014
    • This policy is an exception to the default policies of 'Taylor & Francis'
  • Classification
    green

Publications in this journal


  • No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · PRIMUS: problems, resources, and issues in mathematics undergraduate studies
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    ABSTRACT: In this paper, we discuss active learning in College Algebra at Georgia Gwinnett College. This approach has been used in more than 20 sections of College Algebra taught by the authors in the past four semesters. Students work in small, structured groups on guided inquiry activities after watching 15-20 minutes of videos before class. We discuss a portion of an in-class activity and a writing project used in the course. The results after one semester are that the students in this model did marginally better than students in the traditional lecture sections on common final exam questions.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · PRIMUS: problems, resources, and issues in mathematics undergraduate studies
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    ABSTRACT: Written communication and computer programming are foundational components of an undergraduate degree in the mathematical sciences. All lower division mathematics courses at our institution are paired with computer-based writing, coding, and problem solving activities. In multivariable calculus we utilize MATLAB and LATEX to have students explore mathematics visually, gain programming skills, and write technical reports on their findings. In this article we give a summary of the pedagogy, tools, and logistics of combining technical writing and computer programming with sophomore-level calculus content with the goals of improving student writing, coding, and mathematical understanding.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · PRIMUS: problems, resources, and issues in mathematics undergraduate studies
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    ABSTRACT: Students’ abilities and interests vary dramatically in the college mathematics classroom. How do we teach all of these students effectively? In this paper we present the Point Reward System (PRS), a new method of assessment which addresses this problem. We designed the PRS with three main goals in mind: to increase the retention rates, to keep all students actively engaged in the learning process, and to enhance the students’ learning experience. At the same time, we wanted to keep implementation of the PRS practical while not diminishing its potential to facilitate the learning process. We compared PRS to the traditional assessment method which prevails at the universities and colleges today. The data show that use of the PRS significantly lowered WFD rates compared to the traditional assessment method. PRS was also more successful in keeping students engaged in the course throughout the semester and it had more impact on students’ learning.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · PRIMUS: problems, resources, and issues in mathematics undergraduate studies
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    ABSTRACT: Our paper describes a solution we found to a still existing need to develop mathematical modeling courses for undergraduate biology majors. Some challenges of such courses are: (1) relatively limited exposure of biology students to higher level mathematical and computational concepts; (2) availability of texts that can give a flavor of how contemporary biological problems are approached with quantitative methods; (3) expectations to cover specific mathematical (or biological) content rather than teach a problem-solving approach. We solved these challenges by designing a course in which several modules were developed, each beginning with a presentation from a campus expert in a biological area of research and concluding with a seminar-style student-led paper presentation of an article that addresses the biological problem using mathematical and computational tools. The aim of the course was to expose students to the vast possibilities and potential in quantitative biology and to give them a vocabulary to collaborate with mathematicians, statisticians and computer scientists.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · PRIMUS: problems, resources, and issues in mathematics undergraduate studies
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    ABSTRACT: This article discusses preparation assignments used in a Calculus II course that cover material from prerequisite courses. Prior to learning new material, students work on problems outside of class involving concepts from algebra, trigonometry, and Calculus I. These problems are directly built upon in order to answer Calculus II questions, allowing students to see connections across the mathematics curriculum. Both students and the instructor can also determine what review material warrants further discussion so that students can be successful in the Calculus II course. These assignments can be adapted for use in other courses such as Calculus I, multivariable calculus, pre-calculus and trigonometry.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · PRIMUS: problems, resources, and issues in mathematics undergraduate studies
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    ABSTRACT: Three years ago our mathematics department rearranged the topics in second and third semester calculus, moving multivariable calculus to the second semester and series to the third semester. This paper describes the new arrangement of topics, and how it could be adapted to calculus curricula at different schools. It also explains the benefits we’ve seen both for our math majors and for majors in other departments, and how we’ve dealt with the challenges we’ve encountered.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · PRIMUS: problems, resources, and issues in mathematics undergraduate studies
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    ABSTRACT: The Central Limit Theorem is one of the most important concepts taught in an introductory statistics course, yet it may be the least well understood by students. Sure, students can plug numbers into a formula and solve problems, but conceptually, do they really understand what the Central Limit Theorem is saying? This paper describes a simulation developed to help illustrate the Central Limit Theorem. Students use the computer mouse to hand draw a population of arbitrary shape and then watch as the sampling distribution grows with each sample selected. A simple assessment tool is also given to check students’ understanding of this crucial concept.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · PRIMUS: problems, resources, and issues in mathematics undergraduate studies
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    ABSTRACT: Surface area and volume computations are the most common applications of integration in calculus books. When computing the surface area of a solid of revolution students are usually told to use the frustum method instead of the disc method; however, a rigorous explanation is rarely provided. In this note, we provide one by using geometric observations and the squeeze theorem.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · PRIMUS: problems, resources, and issues in mathematics undergraduate studies

  • No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · PRIMUS: problems, resources, and issues in mathematics undergraduate studies
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this article is to share a new approach for introducing students to the definition and standard examples of Abelian groups. The definition of an Abelian group is revised to include six axioms. A bull’s-eye provides a way to visualize elementary examples and non-examples of Abelian groups. An activity based on the game of Jenga is used to help students determine for themselves which familiar sets and operations combine to form Abelian groups. A second collection of more advanced examples and non-examples of Abelian groups is also represented on a bull’s-eye. This article is intended for those who teach undergraduate abstract algebra.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · PRIMUS: problems, resources, and issues in mathematics undergraduate studies
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    ABSTRACT: Students often struggle with concepts from abstract algebra. Typical classes incorporate few ways to make the concepts concrete. Using a set of woven paper artifacts, this paper proposes a way to visualize and explore concepts (symmetries, groups, permutations, subgroups, etc.). The set of artifacts used to illustrate these concepts is derived from our investigation of open-work woven mats produced in several cultures in the South Pacific. The exemplars that will be shown present variations of the figure eight, and can be created using readily available materials and straightforward instructions.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · PRIMUS: problems, resources, and issues in mathematics undergraduate studies
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this paper is to provide issues related to student understanding of logical components that arise when solving word problems. We designed a logic problem called the King and Prisoner Puzzle - a linguistically simple, yet logically challenging problem. In this paper, we describe various student solutions to the puzzle and discuss the issues with students’ logic. In particular, it is thought-provoking that invalid arguments in students’ solutions to the puzzle are based on a lack of precise understanding of some basic logical components. This emphasizes the necessity of additional teaching to form mutual understanding of the meaning of the logical components.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · PRIMUS: problems, resources, and issues in mathematics undergraduate studies
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    ABSTRACT: Online homework systems, which deliver homework assignments to students and provide real-time feedback on their responses, have the potential to increase student learning in college mathematics classes. However, current research on their effectiveness is inconclusive, with some studies showing gains in student achievement, while others reporting only that the systems “do no harm.” Our own experience has convinced us that online homework systems can increase student engagement and achievement, especially in lower-level classes such as statistics, precalculus, and calculus. Successfully integrating online homework systems into face-to-face mathematics classes requires instructors to confront several issues, including the differing natures of online homework and in-class assessments such as tests. We explore these issues, and offer guidelines gleaned from our experience which can help instructors and students maximize the benefits offered by these systems to improve student learning.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · PRIMUS: problems, resources, and issues in mathematics undergraduate studies
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    ABSTRACT: We describe our team-taught, interdisciplinary course Numb3rs in Lett3rs & Fi1ms: Mathematics in Literature and Cinema1, which explores mathematics in the context of modern literature and cinema. Our goal with this course is to advance collaborations between mathematics and the written/theatric creative arts.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · PRIMUS: problems, resources, and issues in mathematics undergraduate studies
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    ABSTRACT: In the study of music from a mathematical perspective, several types of counting problems naturally arise. For example, how many different rhythms of a specified length (in beats) can be written if we restrict ourselves to only quarter notes (one beat) and half notes (two beats)? What if we allow whole notes, dotted half notes, etc? Or, what if we allow each note to be selected from some specified set of tones (e.g. C, C#, D, etc.)? In my course on music and mathematics for the liberal arts, I use these questions as a method of introducing students to the concept of recursion, as it turns out that such questions lead naturally to sequences (indexed according to the length of the rhythms or melodies being considered) defined by recurrence relations such as the Fibonacci sequence.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · PRIMUS: problems, resources, and issues in mathematics undergraduate studies
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    ABSTRACT: The concept of tangent is important in understanding many mathematics and science topics. Earlier studies that focused on students’ understandings of the concept of tangent have reported that students have various misunderstandings and experience difficulties in transferring their knowledge about the tangent line from Euclidean geometry to calculus. In this study, we examined students’ understandings of the tangent concept from the point of generalization. The findings of the study revealed differences in students’ generalizations regarding the tangent concept. We discussed the causes of these differences and provided a theoretical accounting for them. In light of the results, some suggestions are made for improving the teaching of the tangent concept.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · PRIMUS: problems, resources, and issues in mathematics undergraduate studies
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    ABSTRACT: We report on three approaches taken to incorporate collaborative activities into undergraduate mathematics classes. There is strong evidence from research in K-12 classrooms that these, and similar, approaches support a range of positive learning outcomes for students. Despite the potential benefits the cited studies have shown, research into the use of such methods at the tertiary level is limited. We describe the ways in which we have implemented research projects, collaborative tutorials and team-based learning in a range of undergraduate mathematics classes in two countries. We present quantitative and qualitative evidence from these teaching experiences to support our claim that there is a definite mandate for significant opportunities within our courses for students to work cooperatively, talk together and argue about mathematics.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · PRIMUS: problems, resources, and issues in mathematics undergraduate studies