Math 227--01: Math Modeling---Syllabus &
Course Info, Fall 1999
MWF 11:00-11:50A.M. in Olin 110
Final 10:30A.M. Thursday, 16 December
Instructor: Dr. Gavin LaRose
Office: Olin 109A
Office Hours: M 1-3PM, WF 1-2PM + whenever I'm around
This is a course in problem solving and the applications of
mathematics to the ``real-world.'' In addition, for this
problem-solving and application of mathematics to be useful it must be
effectively communicated. Our objectives are, therefore, by the end
of the semester:
Finally, Learning does not occur in a vacuum. We therefore also
aspire to be engaged by the material we cover, and to have enjoyed
learning through the course of the semester. The application of
mathematics is, in my opinion, one of the neatest things about the
subject, and I hope this semester that we will all be able to stop at
various points and see this magical beauty.
There is no text for this course.
Keep high aspirations,
- To have an improved ability to take a complex problem or situation
and determine what are the key issues that need resolution (the
``problem'') and what the relevant background information is,
- To be better able to take this problem and information and develop a
mathematical formulation that can be effectively simplified and
- To be more adept at developing mathematical solutions to these
problems that use mathematics appropriate to the type of problem being
- To be able to successfully relate the solutions obtained through this
mathematics back to the ``real-world'' problem being considered and
see what the solution tells about this world,
- To be better at writing out concisely and lucidly the mathematical
solutions we obtain for the problems we consider, and
- To be better at orally communicating these solutions, using
appropriate technology for presentations of the material.
and small needs
It is my objective to create an environment both in and out of the
classroom in which you are able to and do learn as much as possible.
As part of this I may collect copies of work that you submit, without
attribution, for the purposes of assessing the success of the course
at meeting its objectives (unless you advise me that you object to
this). This is an unusual course, with little in the way of
traditional assessment and assignments. Because of this, what you are
able to take away from the course depends to a vast extent on the
amount of work that you are willing to devote to it.
Plan on working for this course. Education is not a commodity
that you purchase, but an opportunity to which you gain access, and
which you can take advantage of (by working) or squander.
- Makeups: I do not give makeups except in cases of emergencies
or if we have agreed to it (e.g., because of sports
involvement) at least a week in advance.
- Attendance and Class Work: Please expect to come to class and
do the work assigned for it. Learning is not accomplished through
luck, but rather from work, and your success in the class should
reflect the latter rather than the former.
- Late Work: I reserve the right to give arbitrarily small
amounts of credit for any work submitted late.
- Letter Grades: I do not assign letter grades until the end of
the semester. At that time anyone with a score of 90 or higher is
guaranteed an ``A,'' etc. I may adjust these boundaries
downwards, but not upwards, at the end of the semester if I see fit.
| 50% || Written Reports (about 5)
| 25% || Oral Presentations
| 15% || Problem Solving Exercises
| 10% || In-class work and Preparation
``NWU seeks to maintain a supportive academic environment for students
with disabilities. To ensure their equal access to all educational
programs, activities and services, Federal law requires that students
with disabilities notify the University, provide documentation, and
request reasonable accommodations. If you need accommodations in this
course, please notify me so that I can verify that the required
documentation is filed with the Academic Affairs Office and that your
accommodation plan is in place.''
You have to respect someone who can spell Tuesday, [Rabbit
said,] even if they can't spell it right.
is one of the basic principles of a university
community. Nebraska Wesleyan therefore both encourages and expects the
highest standards of academic honesty from all students. The
Student Code of Conduct states that ``cheating, plagiarism, or other
forms of academic dishonesty'' are subject to disciplinary action.
Refer to the Student Code of Conduct for additional information.
Any student who violates these principles of academic integrity
will fail this course.
I endeavor to make use the Web to facilitate the availability of
information that you need to succeed in this class, that makes it
easier for you to determine how things are going in the class, and,
most importantly, to assist your learning in the class. To this end,
- Written Reports will be due after the completion of each
project. These must be type-written and carefully proof-read.
Figures and equations must be included as part of the write-up.
Equations in the first two projects may be neatly hand-written in
the body of the writeup. While projects are worked on by teams, the
written reports must be developed independently. Earlier projects
will be weighted less heavily than later ones, so that the last
project will worth up to twice as much as the first proejcts.
- Oral Presentations will also occur following the completion of
each project. They will be delivered by the teams that worked on the
project, and must use appropriate technology (at least overheads).
- Problem Solving Exercises are short exercises that will take
place following most projects. They will be completed in class,
independently and without reference material, and will consist of a
problem similar to some aspect of the project just completed. They
will require the application of the same type of problem solving
skills that were needed for the project, albeit in a simpler context.
- In-class Work will on most days consist of work on the
currently assigned project. On some days I will select a team to
informally present their progress or thoughts on the solution of the
And then this Bear, Pooh Bear,... in fact, Pooh himself---said
something so clever that Christopher Robin could only look at him with
mouth open and eyes staring...
Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth
--James A. Michener
- Projects will be available from the course home
- Grades are posted and password-protected by username
(your first initial+your last name---e.g., my username would be
glarose) and password. For you to have access to your
grades in this manner, you must give me a password for the page.
Submission of a password constitutes your agreement to having your
grade so posted. All material is anonymous, and only a subset of
grade information appears on the Web.
Gavin's Modeling Syllabus, Fall '99
Last Modified: Sun Aug 22 15:38:44 CDT 1999