Instructor: Janice Sklensky
Office Phone: (508)286-3973
Office: Science Center 109
Office Hours: see schedule
E-mail: jsklensk@wheatonma.edu
Course Materials: Excursions in Mathematics, byTannenbaum and Arnold. and the associated web site
We will discuss some of the interesting and beautiful mathematics surrounding us: the mathematics behind elections, measuring power, assigning members of congress, and efficiently routing a snow plow. You shall investigate how the golden ratio and symmetry have affected art, architecture and music for over two millenia. You will also learn 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. 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.
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, quite honestly, I'm not sure we offer such a class at Wheaton.
For each week you hand in your journal (on time), you'll receive 2 points, unless your entries are quite sparse, in which case, you'll receive 1.
I will assign several problems each Wednesday. You are, of course, responsible for all of them, but you only turn in 2 or 3 of them, which I will specify. On the following Monday, I will answer questions on a few of the problems I am not collecting. Solutions will be due by 8am the next Thursday.
I do not accept any late homework, but I do drop the lowest score.
Consult your Guidelines for Homework Presentation
for information on how your homework should look.
We will therefore have
two types of projects.
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 12% of your grade. Expect to spend at least 2 weeks on it!. While this is supposed to be fun, I also expect quality work.
Sign up for the project as soon as I make the sign-up sheets available, do not wait until you have chosen a topic.
I will give you a long list of some few possible activities in a few weeks.
I will give you guidelines for how your paper should be written when the time comes.
Exam | Date |
Midterm 1 | March 4 |
Midterm 2 | April 15 |
Final | May 14 or May 15 |
Notify me in advance, either by phone or by e-mail, if you can not take the exam that Thursday. If your reason is acceptable, we will arrange that you take the exam the preceding Wednesday. 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.
Journal | 5% |
Homework | 20% |
Commercial or Term Paper | 12% |
Individual Activities | 5% |
Group Projects | 8% each |
Midterm Exams | 12% each |
Final Exam | 18% |
Please note that the homework and journal together account for a quarter of your grade. This means that even if you are quick to learn the material, you need to demonstrate it to me by means of the homework, and think about mathematics outside of class for the journal. The purpose of this is not busy work but because practicing does indeed help cement the ideas as well as opening up questions you may not have known you had.
Homework and Group Projects: You may work with anybody you want. You may use any references you want. However, you must understand how to do every problem, and you must cite references. That not only includes any other textbooks, but also naming anybody you worked with or got help from.
Individual Projects: While you are welcome to consult any source, the end product should represent your own work.
Exams: You may not use your books, notes, colleagues or friends as reference during the exams.