APSU professors using TIDES Foundation and Google grants to create campus math trail | ClarksvilleNow.com – Clarksville Now

CLARKSVILLE, TN – When it comes to outdoor recreation, Clarksville-Montgomery County offers enthusiasts paved trails, wooded hikes, heritage walks, pub crawls and even a blue way for canoeing. The offerings are expansive, and in the next year, Austin Peay State University will add to that list with a new trail to get a person’s legs and mind moving: the APSU Math Trail.

“The math trail is an activity for students to do, for children to do, where we have specific sites we’re going to ask them to stop at on campus and notice the mathematics taking place around them,” Dr. Marylu Dalton, APSU assistant professor of mathematics, said.
Earlier this year, Dalton and Dr. Jennifer Yantz, APSU professor of mathematics, received a Google Community Grant and a TIDES Foundation grant to create the trail. They then mapped out a 1.5-mile path around campus that includes 12 stops for educational activities, such as using the sundial on the Technology Building to tell time or translating the binary code on the Maynard Mathematics and Computer Science Building.
“We’ve written content for each stop, asking what we want them to think about, questions we want them to solve,” Yantz said. “It gets them to see campus, and we’re also including a little bit of Austin Peay history, like how far did the Browning cupola travel after the 1999 tornado?”

The professors are using math standards for different grade levels to create separate questions for elementary, middle and high school students. They want trail visitors to find those questions on a mobile app specifically designed for this project. To create the app, Yantz and Dalton reached out to their colleague, Dr. James Church, APSU associate professor of computer science.
“Our campus is great for this because it has all the great really obvious examples of math,” he said. “And I have a group of students, when I told them the math department was requesting an app, they went into action immediately. I have six or seven students who are gung-ho – they see it as something that is doable and get some good experience. This is a great launching point for real-world mobile app development for our students.”
Church hopes his students have a prototype of the app working by this December, which is when Dalton and Yantz plan to unveil the new trail, with a guidebook, to the community. And even though their focus is mathematics, they see this trail having the ability to expand into different subjects over the years, with a history trail or an English trail possible in the future.

“It could easily transition into other subjects,” Church said.

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