There is an increasing drive to exploit the power of technology to improve students mathematical conceptual understanding. This work is motivated by the authors research presented at the SEFI 2022 conference which reported on students experienced difficulties with the double integral, a concept central to vector calculus. Some of the difficulties included visualising and sketching three dimensional surfaces and regions of integration and changing coordinate systems from rectangular to polar. Vector calculus is a crucial subject for engineering students, but its abstract concepts can be challenging to grasp. This curriculum proposal is a response to improve visualisation and conceptual understanding and is part of a larger project to develop an innovative, engaging and effective way for undergraduate engineering students at the University of Cape Town to learn vector calculus concepts supported by GeoGebra. The choice was made in favour of the easy to use, freely downloadable mathematical software, GeoGebra which presents a creative, visual and integrative way to experience and understand mathematical concepts.
Informing this curriculum development initiative is Vygotsky’s social constructivist perspectives with an emphasis on inclusivity, diversity and participant interactions. In this paper we discuss the above theoretical underpinnings with case studies on how to teach the double integral concept in GeoGebra for conceptual understanding. Additionally the benefits of using GeoGebra including its ability to engage students, promote critical thinking, and increase motivation will be discussed. This research will be of interest to those intending to use GeoGebra to improve the teaching and learning of vector calculus concepts.
Padayachee, P., & Khemane, T. (2023). Unlocking Complex Vector Calculus Concepts For Engineering Students Using Geogebra. European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI). DOI: 10.21427/WDYR-9P35
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