From 1999-2002, Making Mathematics connected students with professional mathematicians
to work on fun, interesting, and challenging math research projects. Working
alongside a Making Mathematics mentor, students experienced
and learned the
methods that mathematicians use in their work, saw mathematics as a scientific
discipline, and saw what mathematicians really do every day.
Mathematics research projects are longer-term problems that are more open-ended and
require deeper investigation than the shorter problems most students encounter
in mathematics classes. Students had the power to take a project in their own directions
(ones that interested them, rather than ones that were assigned to them).
Making Mathematics mentors were mathematicians who gave
guidance and assistance over email. Students and mentor emailed each
other (about once a week) concerning a particular mathematics problem. Students
described the work they did on the project, answered and asked
questions, shared solutions, and exchanged resources for finding new solutions.
When their work was complete, they learned how to show their
work and thought processes to others, and they also saw how
others might learn from their work.