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2015-2017

IB MATH SL EXPLORATION STUDENT COMPANION



TABLE OF CONTENTS

What Is An Exploration?.....................................................3-4
Timeline-Developing The Exploration5
Planning Mind Mapping.7-8
Expected Skills and Strategies.9
Assessment Criteria.10-12
Authenticity.13
Sites For Technology.14
Self-Assessment15-16
Checklist17
Notes..18










WHAT IS AN EXPLORATION?

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE INTERNAL ASSESSMENT (IA)
(Adapted from the OCC website)
How long should it be?
It is difficult to be prescriptive about mathematical writing. However, the Mathematics SL
guide and the Mathematics HL guide state that 612 pages should be appropriate. A
common failing of mathematical writing is excessive repetition, and this should be
avoided, as such explorations will be penalized for lack of conciseness. However, it is
recognized that some explorations will require the use of several diagrams, which may
extend them beyond the page limit.
How long should it take?
It is difficult to give a single answer. However, the guideline of 10 hours class time with
approximately the same amount of time outside class should suffice for students to
develop their ideas and complete the exploration.
Does the exploration need a title?
It is good practice to have a title for all pieces of work. If the exploration is based on a
stimulus, it is recommended that the title not just be the stimulus. Rather, the title should
give a better indication of where the stimulus has taken the student. For example, rather
than have the title water, the title could be Waterpredicting storm surges.
Can students in the same school/class use the same title for the exploration?
Yes, but the explorations must be different, based on the avenues followed by each
student. As noted above, the title should give an idea of what the exploration is about.
Group work is not allowed.
Can students in the same school/class use the same stimulus?
Yes, this is permissible. However, the stimuli are intended to be broad themes around
which a variety of foci could develop. It is therefore expected that, even if students use
the same stimuli, the resulting explorations will be very different.
Can SL and HL students use the same stimulus?
Yes, there is no reason to restrict any stimulus to a particular level, although the
assessment of criterion E will be different.
What should the target audience be for a student when writing the exploration?
The exploration should be accessible to fellow students.

Can the students use mathematics other than that they have done in class?
Yes, but this must be clearly explained and referenced, and teacher comments should
clarify this.
Can students use mathematics that is outside the syllabus?
Yes, as long as the mathematics used is relevant. However, this is not necessary to
obtain full marks.
Does the exploration have to be word processed or handwritten?
It can be in either form as long as it is clearly legible.
What is the difference between criterion A (communication) and criterion B
(mathematical presentation)?
Communication is focusing on the overall organization and coherence of the exploration,
whereas mathematical presentation focuses on the appropriateness of the mathematics.
An exploration that is logically set out in terms of its overall structure could score well in
criterion A despite using inappropriate mathematics. Conversely, an exploration that uses
appropriate diagrams and technology to develop the ideas could score well in criterion B
but poorly in criterion A because it lacked a clear aim or conclusion, for example.
What is personal engagement?
The exploration is intended to be an opportunity for students to use mathematics to
develop an area of interest to them rather than merely to solve a problem set by
someone else. Criterion C (personal engagement) will be looking at how well the student
is able to demonstrate that he or she has made the exploration their own and
expressed ideas in an individual way.
What is the difference between precise and correct?
As outlined in criterion E (use of mathematics), precise mathematics requires absolute
accuracy with appropriate use of notation. Correct mathematics may contain the
occasional error as long as it does not seriously interfere with the flow of the work or give
rise to conclusions or answers that are clearly wrong.
What is a complete exploration?
In a complete exploration, all steps are clearly explained without detracting from its
conciseness.
What happens if a student does not complete the exploration?
The exploration accounts for 20% of their final mark. Students will not receive a grade
for mathematics SL or mathematics HL if they have not submitted an exploration.

Timeline Developing The Exploration



Process

Date
begun

Progress Date
check
completed

What is an exploration?
Review examples and rubric
Think about stimuli
Choose a topic

11/17

12/12

Draft exploration

12/17

1/9

1/20

1/23

1/26

1/30

2/2

2/6

Finalize Topic and Meet with Larry

Introduction
o
o
o

Body/Mathematical Exploration
o
o

Describe the method, followed by an investigation


Record your results (tables, lists etc)
Analyze the results (graphs, diagrams, calculations
etc) and form conjectures.

Conclusion and Bibliography


o

o
o

Outline the aim and purpose in a clear and succinct


manner.
Justify the exploration choice
Briefly discuss the area of mathematics that will be
used.
Evidence of some research.

Summarize your findings in response to your aim.


Restate any rules, conjectures or models that you
found.
Comment on any limitations to your approach, or to
your findings.
Comment on possible extensions and real life
connections. Relate it to your personal knowledge
and to your previous knowledge.
Including a reflection on what you have learned and
what you have taken away from this experience will
reflect personal engagement.

Submit self-assessment and first draft to teacher

Due: 2/13/17

Teacher to review & comment on draft


Meet with teacher

2/18

2/25

Final writing
Revise draft
Submit

Final version due date: March, 2017

Planning Mind Mapping


Mind Map an example

Stimuli
sport
algorithms
sine
e
space
volcanoes
games
codes
tiling
viruses
play
biology
physics
psychology

archaeology
cell phones
musical harmony
electricity
orbits
diet
symmetry
the internet
population
health

business
chemistry

computers
music
motion
water
food
Euler
architecture
communication
agriculture
dance
geography
economics
information technology in a global society


If you have not yet decided on your topic then you might like to use this to get you started. Use the mind map
shown on the previous page as an example. Choose a stimulus and create your own mind map here. You
might find it easier to brainstorm with one or two others to get your creative juices flowing! You could use a
newspaper / journal article as a starter, or you might find some interesting questions in previous mathematics
Olympiads or open your eyes and look around you nature has plenty to offer.

EXPECTED SKILLS AND STRATEGIES


These skills and strategies are expected from you:

Choosing a topic

Identifying an appropriate topic choose one


that you are interested in so that you can show
personal engagement.
Developing a topic
Devising a focus that is well defined and
appropriate
Ensuring that the topic lends itself to a concise
exploration

Reflection

Communication

Expressing ideas clearly


Identifying a clear aim for the exploration
Focusing on the aim and avoiding irrelevance
Structuring ideas in a logical manner
Including graphs, tables and diagrams at
appropriate places
Editing the exploration so that it is easy to follow
Citing references where appropriate

Using appropriate mathematical language and


representation
Defining key terms and variables, where
required
Selecting appropriate mathematical tools
(including information and communication
technology)
Expressing results to an appropriate degree of
accuracy

Working independently
Asking questions, making conjectures and
investigating mathematical ideas
Reading about mathematics and researching
areas of interest
Looking for and creating mathematical models
for real-world situations

Demonstrating knowledge and understanding


Applying mathematics in different contexts
Applying problem-solving techniques
Recognizing and explaining patterns, where
appropriate
Generalizing and justifying conclusions
The mathematics that you use must be at the
level of the IB standard level course. If the level
of mathematics is below this level or only at
prior knowledge level then you will not give
yourself the best opportunity to gain a
reasonable mark. Using mathematics that is at a
level higher than standard level is not required
and will not attract higher marks.

The finished product should:

Personal engagement

Discussing the implications of results


Considering the significance of the exploration
Looking at possible limitations and/or extensions
Making links to different fields and/or areas of
mathematics
Reflection does not have to be in a section on its
own it is possible to reflect as you go.

Use of mathematics

Mathematical presentation

Considering historical and global perspectives


Exploring unfamiliar mathematics

have page numbers inserted on each page


be stapled or bound
have your name on the cover page
be no longer than 12 pages including
bibliography
include a signed authenticity statement


The Assessment Criteria


Authenticity

Plagiarism
This includes copying quotes, information and ideas, directly or paraphrased, from books and websites.

Collusion
This includes working closely with another student such that the work between the two students is similar.

Collusion, plagiarism or any other forms of academic dishonesty are considered by the College to be acts of
serious misconduct and will be dealt with accordingly.













Ensuring academic honesty
To prevent plagiarism, you need to cite your sources correctly and include any sources in your bibliography. If
you have questions on how to properly cite your sources, seek advice from your teacher or from the school
librarian. Please see mPower for a link to the Massey University website interactive for correct referencing
methods. (http://owll.massey.ac.nz/referencing/apa-interactive.php)

While you might discuss ideas with other students, you should never giver another student your work, either
in print or electronically.

If you have had discussions with people regarding the content of your exploration, you could easily include
this in your introduction as part of the gateway into the topic.

You will be required to sign an authenticity statement to confirm that the work in your exploration is your
own work.

Sites for Technology


Some examples of technology include:

any kind of calculators, the internet, data logging devices


word processing packages, spreadsheets, graphics packages
statistics packages or computer algebra packages.

Great software for working with graphs, diagrams, functions, spreadsheets, statistics, calculus and much, much more.


www.geogebra.org

A modern, easy-to-learn, programming language that is great for writing simulations. There are loads of tutorials available: just
google python tuts.


www.python.org


Not sure how to use your TI-83/84. The Baltimore County Community College website has a set of excellent video tutorials that are
mainly statistics-oriented, but that are also useful for a general familiarisation.


http://faculty.ccbcmd.edu/elmo/math141s/TIVideo/TIWebpage.htm


An online graph plotter with graphing capabilities similar to those of your graphical calculators.


www.fooplot.com


A really powerful search / CAS engine. (For example, type find antiderivative of f(x) = 3x into the search bar.)

www.wolframalpha.com



Graph functions, plot tables of data, evaluate equations, explore transformations, and much more for free!

www.desmos.com

Self-Assessment Name:
When completing your self assessment, use the language of the rubrics and the teacher expectations to
comment on why you have given yourself this particular grade. Set goals for yourself for each criterion.

Title:
A - Communication ( /4)

B - Mathematical presentation ( /3)

C - Personal engagement ( /4)

D - Reflection ( /3)

E - Use of mathematics ( /6)

Checklist
Item

Yes

Partially

No

Is the work entirely yours?

Have you chosen a topic that you are interested in and developed your
own ideas? Is it evident in your exploration?

Have you explained the reason why you have chosen your topic in your
exploration?

Is the aim of your exploration included in your introduction?

Do you have an introduction and conclusion? Is your exploration


organized?

Have you defined key terms/variables?

Have you used appropriate mathematical language (notation, symbols and


terminology) consistently throughout your exploration?
** Calculator/computer notation should not be used. **

Have you used more than one form of mathematical representation? Are
all graphs, tables and diagrams sufficiently described and labeled?

Are formulae, graphs, tables and diagrams in the main body of the text?
No full-page graphs and no separate appendices.

Have you used technology to enhance your exploration?

Have you explained what you are doing at all times? Explanatory
comments should be seen throughout your exploration?

Have you used mathematics that is commensurate with the Standard


Level course (or beyond)?

Is the mathematics in your exploration correct?

Have you reflected on your finding at appropriate places in your


exploration, particularly in your conclusion?

Have you considered limitations and extensions in your reflection?

Have you considered the assessment criteria when writing your


exploration? Have you self-assessed your exploration?

Is your exploration approximately 6 to 12 pages long?

Have you referenced your work in a bibliography?


Have you had someone else read your exploration to ensure that the
communication is good? Does it have flow and coherence? Is it easily
understandable? Does it read well?

Have you completed your self-assessment?

Have you submitted a first draft to your teacher and used the feedback to
improve your report?
Have you made changes to your work based on the feedback received by
your teacher and have you produced a copy ready for marking as shown in
the requirements in this course companion (pg 6)?

Notes