Download our app in the AppStore now!

Download our app in the Play Store now!

View the Mobile Web Version of our app here!

You're seeing this message because you're using an older version of Internet Explorer that is unsupported on our website. Please use these links to upgrade to a modern web browser that fully supports our website and protects your computer from security risks.

Hide this message

FSU Tag Line
 

 

Bookmark and Share

Turning Math Into a Social Experience Broadens its Appeal
04/03/2017

By Charles Schelle

O Captain! My Captain! Rise up and hear the excitement over mathematics among friends.

Math problem
Math equations are some of the brain teasers that members of the
Dead Poets Society tackle.
Two people playing game
English major Rianna Joy and mechanical engineering major
Demetrick McDonald join forces for a game of Rock Band, one
of the activities of the math-focuses student group, the Dead
Poets Society.

You can hear the laughter and debate each Monday coming from Room 247 in the Gira Center for Communications and Information Technology. That’s where a new academic club at Frostburg called the Dead Poets Society seeks to make math a social experience. Brain teasers, puzzles and even the video game Rock Band are all part of an equation that solves for fun.

Assistant Professor of Mathematics Dr. Justin Dunmyre says the club shares its name with the movie starring Robin Williams. Math plays a storytelling role in the movie.

The movie is about celebrating one’s passion, and that’s what we’re trying to do here,” Dunmyre says.

Mathematics major Sarah Sparks says the club helped her feel more connected with the campus as a transfer student coming from Carroll Community College.

I really didn’t know anybody. I really didn’t have any friends. Coming to the math game nights that we were having at the time, it got me interacting with other people in my math classes and got me interacting with other people in general,” Sparks says. “I think it’s really important to kind of take a break from the math that’s stressing you out during the semester and doing math that’s just for fun.”

Mechanical engineering major Demetrick McDonald says the puzzles and math problems help him reset during a grinding semester.

“Doing these challenges and these brain teasers are just a way to distract my mind, but it’s a constructive distraction,” McDonald says. “It’s a distraction from everything that I am doing, but it’s constructive in the sense that I’m using my brain to still answer questions and different things, not to mention I get to sit down and have time with all my friends and hang out and crack jokes.”

“I found out about it at the National Meeting of Mathematicians, and it sounded like a really good way of just building a math community,” Dunmyre says. The initial chapter started at Berry College in Georgia.

Frostburg started its own chapter in the 2016 fall semester. Dunmyre describes the club as an underground national movement.

The club was created as a service of the Department of Mathematics, a way for students to connect with faculty and their peers. Dunmyre attends each meeting, along with Associate Professor Dr. Marc Michael, who is the department chair, and Assistant Professor Dr. Sarah Dumnich.

Dead Poets Society also kills the notion that math is not solved aloud.

“The hardest problems require communication between people,” Dunmyre says. “Just getting a community together is really important.”

The puzzles and problems cater to a variety of levels and majors. One night could feature a brief worksheet of problems testing math and logic. Another night might feature matchstick puzzles or the game Knights and Knaves. When students really need a break from brain-teasers, they get together to play the video game Rock Band one night each month.

The Dead Poets Society at FSU is open to any student, regardless of major or mathematical skill level.

“The idea by doing different activities is to get lots of different people interested and involved – not just people who are excited about math,” Sparks said. “It’s just another way for people to socially interact and kind of let loose in this environment where we get to interact with each other.”

 

Web Address for More Information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysUgH2_b5H0

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589
E-mail: news@frostburg.edu