- Course Materials
- Overview of the course
- Is this the right course for you?
- Office Hours: reasons to come to them
- Journal
- Problem Sets
- Projects
- Quizzes
- Midterms
- Attendance
- Evaluation
- Honor Code
**Individual Projects:**

This class serves a broad spectrum of students, and so I give you several opportunities to bring your interests into this class.

*Commercial*

You will pick some (non-mathematical) topic that interests you, investigate how math is related to it, and either give a brief spoken commercial break to the class discussing it, or for those few who**really**refuse to speak in public, a written commercial is also an option (but it's more work.)Before the official sign-up period begins, I will be giving you an in-depth description of these projects, plus a list of some possible topics.

This project is worth 20% of your grade. Expect to spend

**a lot**of time on it. If you give yourself enough time, and are willing to enjoy it, I think you'll find it really rewarding.-
*Activities*

This is another opportunity for you to explore any aspect of math that interests you. It is more versatile than the commercial: you can explore an idea in the same way that you do for the commercial, but you can do other activities as well. You can write a poem using mathematical ideas, design a tiling of the plane (this is a mathematical term, and would need to be explored), explore alternative voting methods, etc, compose a piece of music or visual art based on mathematical ideas, etc.I will give you a list of some few possible activities in a few weeks.

**Group Project:**

You will work with a group to analyze the results of an election we will hold in class. Your group will then jointly write a paper describing your results in a way that is comprehensible to your intended audience (who has not yet been determined).Should it turn out that you are disappointed with the score you receive on the project, you are welcome to rewrite it, to receive up to 1/2 the points you missed.

I will give you guidelines for how your paper should be written when the time comes.

Spring 2000

**Instructor: **Janice Sklensky

**Office Phone:** (508)286-3970

**Office:** Science Center 103

**Office Hours:** see schedule

**E-mail:** jsklensk@wheatonma.edu

Below, I discuss

** Course Materials:**

__Excursions in Mathematics__, byTannenbaum and Arnold. and the associated web site

In ``Math Thought'', you will learn and think about various areas of modern mathematical thought, and how it is applicable. You will also think about how math (beyond arithmetic) is already a part of your life. The more open you are to these ideas, the more interesting you will find this class.

We will discuss some of the interesting and beautiful mathematics surrounding us: the mathematics behind elections and determining how many representatives each state has in congress; the most efficient route doing errands or deploying a delivery truck, the cheapest way to visit a number of cities (or the best route for an exploratory vehicle to travel in); the mathematics behind symmetry and how mathematics is affecting modern art, through fractals.

In addition to the topics discussed above, you will also have ample opportunity to bring some of your own interests into this class, and to investigate how math relates!

This class satisfies the math and logic requirement, and consequently
you are expected to work and learn. As with all college classes, you should expect
to work a ** minimum of** 2 hours outside of class for every 1 hour in
class, or ** 6
hours a week**, outside of class.

Being interested and willing to work are the primary qualifications: humanities, fine arts, social sciences, and science majors alike can find much to intrigue them in this class! However, there are some people for whom this is not the right class. Students whose schedule makes more than one math class undesirable need to think about their needs: those who might major or minor in psychology, sociology, biology, education, political science, or economics may be required (or recommended) to take other math courses. People who want to learn techniques they'll use often (as opposed to learning some of the ways math relates to the world around you) may want to consider taking Statistics or Universal Machines. Also, those who think a math class should only consist of homework problems may want to take a different class, although I'm not sure we offer such a class at Wheaton.

Please come visit me! If you come during my office hours, you do not need to make an appointment beforehand. You are also welcome to stop by anytime, as I'm in my office during much of the day. Come to chat about mathematical thoughts, or bring questions. If you do have questions, come right away, don't stew over them and let them evolve into a serious situation!

The point of this class is to begin to relate Math to the world around you. To encourage you to do this, you will keep a journal that you will turn in weekly.

What do you write in this journal? Did you encounter math in an unexpected place? Did you hear about something mathematical that intrigued you? Is the class material making you think about the world in a new way?

In a separate folder, jot down any
such thoughts you want to share with me (at least 3 sentences a week). Each
Friday, you will hand these in. I will write brief responses when appropriate,
and return them to you on Monday. These are ** not** busy work--I've
found that the journals keep students interested, and create some really interesting dialogues.

For each week you hand in the journal, you'll receive 2 points for an entry that is at least 3 sentences long and which discusses matters such as those described above. If you're blanking on such thoughts, I'm also interested in well or poorly you think you're understanding the material we're learning in class. For such entries, you'll receive 1 point. The only way to get 0 points for an entry is if you say something like ``I was too busy to have math thoughts this week''--you're probably having mathematical thoughts all the time, you just don't know it!

I will assign many problems every week. I

The problems will be posted on the course web page (see the above web address), no later than Wednesday of each week. (The first week, they will be posted on the web before the first class). You are to have done them all by Wednesday. On Wednesday, I will answer a few questions on the problems.

Keep all your problem sets for reference purposes. I have answers to many of the problems in a binder in my office; please feel free to come by and look at them.

Projects allow you to investigate questions of greater depth than weekly problem sets and quizzes allow. It is also important to learn how to communicate complicated ideas to non-specialists, no matter what field you end up in.

We will therefore have two types of projects.

It is important that you stay on top of the material, and that I have a sense for who is having difficulties (so that we can address them early on). To help with both of those goals, every Friday at the beginning of class, I will give a brief quiz covering the problem set due that Wednesday. You may begin the quiz before class if you feel you need extra time.

I will drop the lowest quiz score at the end of the semester.

I will also want to occasionally make sure that each of you is learning the material in more depth than the quizzes can determine. To that end, we will have two midterms and one

If you are disappointed with the score you receive, you may rewrite the exam, to receive up to 1/3 the points you missed.

The two midterms will be
given on ** Tuesdays**, outside of class, to allow you to take your
time.

Exam | Date |

Midterm 1 | Tuesday, March 7 |

Midterm 2 | Tuesday, April 17 |

Final | Monday, May 8, at 2pm |

**Notify me in advance**, either by phone or
by e-mail, if you can not take the exam that Tuesday.
If your reason
is acceptable, we will arrange that you take the exam the preceding
Monday. If your
reason is not acceptable, or if you miss an exam
without notifying me in advance,
I reserve the right to not give you a make-up exam.
I will
not give any student more than one make-up exam during the semester.

Clearly, missing class is not a wise idea. If you

I expect to use the weights below, although I reserve the right to change my mind if the semester does not go as expected.

Journal | 5% |

Quizzes | 20% |

Commercial | 20% |

Independent Activities | 5% |

Group Project | 8% |

Midterm Exams | 12% each |

Final Exam | 18% |

Please remember to abide by the Honor Code. I take the Honor Code seriously, and will bring a case before the Hearing Board if I see or find anything suspicious.

Department of Mathematics and Computer Science

Science Center, Room 109

Norton, Massachusetts 02766-0930

TEL (508) 286-3973

FAX (508) 285-8278

jsklensk@wheatonma.edu

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