The world is changing faster and faster. We need individuals capable of tackling problems they have never encountered and to ask questions no one has yet thought of. In addition to helping students develop procedural fluency and conceptual understanding, as educators, we must prepare them to ask and explore questions after they leave our classrooms, potentially in contexts that do not yet exist. If we truly want students to be independent, inquisitive, and persistent, then we need to provide them with the means to acquire these skills. An inquiry-based learning (IBL) approach to teaching mathematics puts these issues front and center and places an explicit focus on students producing, rather than consuming, mathematics. In this talk, we will address the following questions: What is IBL? Why use IBL? What are some of the challenges of IBL? I will also relay my personal experience and discuss how I came to IBL. Time permitting, we will also discuss some examples of what an IBL classroom might look like in practice.
This talk was given as the opening address at the Spring 2016 Joint ArizMATYC and MAA–Southwest Section Conference on Friday, April 8, 2016 at Coconino Community College in Flagstaff, AZ.