Hi! My name is David Plaxco. I'm happy to be a lecturer in the UGA mathematics department. My background is in Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education (RUME), and I have recently developed an interest in Recreational Mathematics and Mathematical Art.

I've been teaching mathematics in some capacity since 2007, beginning as a middle school teacher in Muscle Shoals, AL. Most recently, before moving to UGA, I was an associate professor at Clayton State University. I completed my doctoral work at Virginia Tech, investigating how people think about concepts in an Abstract Algebra course and how that understanding relates to their proof activity. After that, I worked with colleagues on two NSF-funded projects developing research-based, inquiry-oriented curricular materials for Linear Algebra classrooms and video games based on those materials.

I am also a Rubik's cube artist. I solve large nxnxn Rubik's cubes to aesthetic solution states, finding and exploring connections between mathematics and twisty puzzles. I’m sponsored by TheCubicle.com (use code cubesart at checkout for 5% off 😊) and I have given several conference presentations, public demonstrations, and invited talks about the mathematics of the Rubik's cube.

In addition to math-y things, I like traveling, cooking/eating, going to concerts, watching films/television, hanging out with my partner Amy and our cats, and ruining a good walk.

## Research

**Research Interests:**

I am deeply interested in the epistemology of mathematics - how individuals develop mathematical ideas based on their conscious experiences. Put differently, I seek to understand the fundamental connections between mathematical activity and mathematical understanding. This informs and is informed by my theoretical perspective for designing instructional tasks. I typically situate my instructional design process using the Realistic Mathematics Education (RME) framework, which provides heuristics for designing materials that engage students in experientially real task settings and leverage students' activity toward more formal mathematics.

I am also keen to pursue and develop my own mathematics, seeking to follow those things I am curious about and build a more meaningful understanding of my experiences. In service of this, I look for ways to learn about mathematical systems and break them - changing rules, structures, and goals creatively to better understand my own thinking and the process of doing mathematics.

**Grants:**

**Principal Investigator:** MAA Tensor-SUMMA - *(CS) ^{3} – The Chelby Slappy Clayton State Cubing Society*; $6000; 2021-2023. The primary goal of this project is to establish The Chelby Slappy Clayton State Cubing Society [(CS)

^{3}], provide club members with puzzle starter kits, and establish a permanent twisty puzzle library at Clayton State University. (CS)

^{3}engages undergraduate students at Clayton State University in socially situated, novel, informal problem solving with twisty cube puzzles like the Rubik's cube.

**Principal Investigator:** Clayton State University - President’s Research and Creative Endeavors Mini-Grants Initiative; $3,000; 2022. This grant funded travel to two conferences - Bridges (Helsinki, August 1-5) and MOVES (New York, August 7-9), where I gave a presentation on my Rubik's cube art projects at each conference. I also had a piece included in the exhibition of mathematically-based art at the Bridges conference titled *Knots on n×n×n Rubik’s cubes,* which was composed of 15 Rubik's cubes solved to depict each of the prime knots through seven crossings.

**Co-Principal Investigator:** National Science Foundation – Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE), *Collaborative Research: Extending Inquiry-Oriented Linear Algebra Into New Topics*; M. Zandieh (PI), Megan Wawro (co-PI), Christine Andrews-Larson (co-PI), and **David Plaxco** (co-PI); $599,071;* 2019 *– *2022*. This research collaboration is a continued effort to expand the IOLA curriculum to include additional mathematical topics and extend the project’s reach to more undergraduate instructors.

**Co-Principal Investigator:** National Science Foundation – Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE), *Simulation-Based Inquiry-Oriented Linear Algebra*; M. Zandieh (PI), **David Plaxco** (co-PI), and Ashish Amresh (co-PI); $299,999; *2017 *– *2020*. Responsibilities: Iteratively design, develop and test a game-based applet to support players’ understanding of linear algebra content, including linear independence, span, and basis. Disseminate game to a wider audience and extend the education research community’s understanding of the issues involved in combining curricular design with videogame design.

**Co-Principal Investigator:** Virginia Tech Center for Innovation in Learning, *Innovation in Undergraduate Mathematics Education: Supporting Student-Centered Instruction*; M. Wawro (PI) and **David Plaxco** (co-PI); $10,000; *2013 *– *2014*. Responsibilities: Participated in New Media Seminar that helped inform approaches to web design, reflecting an alternative focus from product-oriented websites to more user-oriented portals

## Selected Publications

## Education

**Education:**

PhD in Mathematics (RUME) - Virginia Tech - 2015

MA in Mathematics (RUME) - Virginia Tech - 2011

BS in Secondary Mathematics Education - Auburn University - 2007

## Teaching

**Teaching:**

**FALL 2024**

Math 1113 (2 sections)

Math 3300 (2 sections)