*Oh no! It’s Christmas Eve and I still haven’t wrapped my sister’s present! There are no boxes left in the house, so I’ll have to improvise. I spot a piece of cardboard that is 12 inches by 12 inches, so I can make my own box. But, after I put my sister’s present in the box, I want to fill the rest with chocolate. What dimensions will maximum the volume of the box that I can make from this piece of cardboard? Also, what will this maximum volume be so that I can optimize the space for chocolate?*

The student also provided me with the calculus solution:

After polling the most important stakeholders, my students, they felt that after creating a question, and solving it, they could further describe the importance of calculus in the real world.

In class, I had students pair up and exchange each other’s problems. At the end of class, I asked for feedback and it was an overwhelming response of “Can we do that again?”

When students are given real applications of the concepts required by a course, they truly grasp the “WHY” part of education. In my class, I no longer hear, “Why do I have to complete this?”, or “What is the point of this?”, however I do hear “I finally understand why we are learning this!”. Give students the application, and they will learn the “why” on their own.

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