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Schulz Information Center

“Service-learning in mathematics curriculum provides a rich opportunity for students to learn while contributing to their communities. Mathematics service-learning projects can be a mechanism for effectively translating seemingly abstract principles such as algebra, geometry and trigonometry into practice.” 1
—Rachel L. Vaughn, Sarena D. Seifer, and Tanis Vye Mihalynuk

SSU faculty member

Service-Learning in Mathematics & Statistics

Thank you for your interest in service-learning in Mathematics & Statistics. The CCE can help you create or deepen your service-learning class. We provide models of other courses, sample syllabi, resources for course construction, reflective analysis tools, and risk management support.

Service-learning activity usually falls into two categories:

TYPE 1) Teaching/tutoring/sharing knowledge from the class
Example: Math students at LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana have had a long tradition of tutoring East Baton Rouge elementary school children in math concepts. The “students have introduced a more understandable and enjoyable version of math in 13 public schools – from elementary through alternative education.” As one professor noted “We often get the comment that our service-learning project is the best thing they have done at LSU for any class, because it is the first time they can put into practice what they are learning.” The benefits to the community are still emerging but as another professor said “It is in this reciprocity that LSU and the community will begin to develop a new view of what we can do together.” 2

TYPE 2) Using information in the class to do something with/for a community organization.
Example: Students at Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, used service-learning projects involving sustainability to test their math skills. Students did calculations and cost-benefit analysis to determine energy savings in many different realms—converting CF light bulbs to LED, converting Bryn Mawr paper applications to online for the admissions department, examining the impact of the college’s food composting program, and creating a mathematical model of perceived safety for bicycles on roads. One student remarked “I liked that the projects we worked on were meaningful and that this course was extremely applied in nature. It was nice to do something that affected our college and/or community directly.” The staff at the college “have been very eager to work with students to further campus sustainability.” 3

Please contact us for more information.

Susan Herring has instructed several service-learning classes and may be willing and able to share advice.

1From Community-Campus Partnerships for Health, May 2004, as cited by Learn and Service America's National Service-Learning Clearinghouse

2 Dill, Roxanne. "Math + Civic Engagement = Success for LSU Students and the Community." Louisiana State University, Fall 2007. Web. July 13, 2015.

3 Donnay, V., “Sustainability, Service-Learning and Student Engagement.” Department of Mathematics, Bryn Mawr College, 2013.