Document Type

Activity or Lab

Publication Date



Mathematical Inquiry with Loops is a fun activity designed to introduce students in LMF101 (First Year Seminar for Liberal Arts: Math and Science) to mathematical exploration and hypothesis formation via hands-on exploration with paper loops. It should make students understand that the “facts” that make up mathematics, are not arbitrary, but arise from observation and experience. It should also encourage students to view mathematics as a science rooted in exploration and problem solving, rather than an esoteric exercise in symbol manipulation.

This activity is designed to be very low stakes (ungraded) and to take one hour of class time. There are no mathematical pre-requisites beyond counting, and it addresses the Inquiry and Problem Solving competency, as well as the following learning objectives.

Instructional Objectives

  • Introduce students to the foundational knowledge and key concepts of mathematics and science
  • Introduce students to types of problems successfully addressed by mathematics and science, along with the methodology.

Performance Objectives

  • Demonstrate understanding of foundational knowledge in mathematics and science (eg, observation, interpretation, critical thinking, synthesis, analysis, reflection and evaluation).
  • Explain types of research and methods within mathematics and science and the ways these are applied in the disciplines.


This resource is part of the First Year Seminar Curricular Resources.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

Included in

Mathematics Commons



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