Description of Problem Sets for Multivariable Calculus
Spring 2010, Math 236
Sunday, January 24, 2010,
11:55 AM )
Even more than in Calc 1 or Calc 2, balancing your need to get plenty of practice using new techniques with exploring deeper ideas inevitably means a lot of homework. At the same time, it is really important that you practice writing up well-written solutions to problems -- but doing that for upwards of 20 problems every week can be a bit much. I have therefore decided to divide the problems into two groups: those that you will turn in, following the Guidelines for Homework Presentation -- henceforth referred to as focus problems , and those that you of course still must do, but that you do not have to turn in, henceforth referred to as practice problems. Generally speaking, the focus problems in will rely on ideas that you will have honed and practiced by doing the practice problems first.
- When you look at the problem sets, you'll see that each problem set consists of problems listed in black, and problems listed in bold red. Those problems listed in black are the practice problems. As I mentioned above, do these problems first, to make sure you understand the ideas and techniques. They will often be odd, so that you can check your solutions. Write them up in whatever level of detail you feel will be helpful to you later, and put them aside to study from. (If you'd like to turn them just to keep your entire problem set together, write them on separate sheets of paper from the to-be-turned in problems, and put them at the back.)
- Those problems listed in bold red are the focus problems. These may include a few technique problems, but will generally consist of problems that make use of the techniques you've honed through the practice problems in a more conceptual way. I will grade these problems in detail, and as such, you should follow the Guidelines for Homework Presentation when you're writing them up, including recopying them. Each of these will graded out of 5 or 10 points.
- Work on the problems through the week. I collect them only once a week to allow some flexibility in your schedule, but the material reflects a week's worth of learning, and the length reflects a week's worth of work. Saving them up for the day before the problem set is due will both mean that you are getting less out of the intervening classes and will make for an unpleasant Thursday.
- The homework is due at the beginning of class each Friday.
- Make sure to check these assignments on the web each week, as they are likely to be adjusted as our syllabus shifts somewhat.
- For the individual problem sets, you may consult with other people in the class or work alone. If you choose to work with others, the final result must reflect your own understanding, word choice, and work. See the last page of the course policies, on the Honor Code, for more details.
- For the group problem sets, work on every problem before your group meets. Do NOT divide the problems up among members ofyour group Again, see the last page of the course policies, on the Honor Code, for more details. Points on the group homework will be based on each person's honest assessment of the effort and contribution made by each member.
- The final copy of each group problem set should be written by a primary author. On each group problem set, make a note of who the primary author is by putting a star next to that person's name. Although I want the groups to change from week to week, you should be primary author about every other group problem set. Note: The members of a group should contribute equally to each problem. The only extra work the primary author is responsible for is copying over the work the group has already produced.
- There will often be links to supplementary exercises - please don't forget to work on those.
- Please come to see me for help! A lot goes on in class, and it would be surprising if you understood everything the first time around. Also, of course, everyone learns differently; in office hours, I can tailor my explanations to you (or at least, to a smaller group).
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Norton, Massachusetts 02766-0930
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