Examples of Student Work

Here I've included some examples of student work from my Computer Science I (CS 121), Intermediate Algebra (Math 108), and College Algebra (Math 143) courses that I've instructed at Boise State University. Click on the images to view the complete document!

[Figure 0]
In CS 121 students use the Java programming language to design and implement working, object-oriented solutions to programming problems with good coding and documentation styles. Below is an example of a Java code snippet from one of my student's programming projects, where he created an object-oriented application that randomly generates four parking spots and determines which parking spot is closest to their current location.

Learning Objectives
  • Write a class with a main method.
  • Use an existing, custom class.
  • Use classes from the Java standard library.
  • Work with numeric data.
  • Work with standard input and output.

[Figure 1]
In this CS 121 project (below), each student used Java to create a simple animation of a multi-part vehicle that moves across the window in a traffic lane surrounded by some interesting scenery. Some of the project specifications required that the animation includes an avatar observer, text, at least three colors, and at least five different methods from the Graphics class. The dimensions of each object in the animation must scale properly when the window is resized. In addition to the specifications, they had the flexibility to draw whatever they wanted.

Learning Objectives
  • Add code to a method in a given skeleton class to paint a scene.
  • Use methods from the Graphics class.
  • Use variables to manage data and expressions to calculate size and position of your shapes.
  • Use the Color class.

[Figure 2]
Every two weeks my CS 121 students take quizzes which are formative assessments that include 8-9 multiple choice questions and 1-2 written response questions. For example, the multiple choice questions may prompt the student to evaluate algorithms or program code to determine its working functionality or identify problems. Additionally, written response questions may prompt the student to write working program code that solves a problem (below) or explain (in English) how an algorithm solves a problem or why it is appropriate.

Learning Objective
  • Design and implement a working solution to a programming problem using good coding and documentation styles.

After the students complete the quiz individually to earn an individual score, they then join their teams and retake the same quiz to earn a team score. During the team quiz, students use a scratch off answer card (below) to receive immediate feedback. The team quizzes are a great way for students to collaboratively attack problems, explain strategies, and discuss alternative strategies.

[Figure 3]
My students are frequently assessed on their ability to explain (in English) how an algorithm or algebraic strategy solves a problem, why it is appropriate, what some features of it mean, or how it may apply to the "real world". For example, below is a Math 143 test problem where the student is prompted to first identify the slope and y-intercept of a linear equation, and then to connect the symbolic and graphic representations of that equation by explaining what those features mean graphically. In Math 143, the tests consist of both a computer portion and written portion, where the written portion helps me further assess a student's thought process.

Learning Objectives
  • Identify key features of a linear equation.
  • Explain what those key features mean graphically.

[Figure 4]
Students who crush their evil assessments earn superhero stickers.