Mathematics 5, Winter 2002

The World According to Mathematics

Course DescriptionCourse Information Syllabus Homework Assignments
Friday Discussions Maple Stuff Take-home ExamsStudent Writing


Information about Math 5

In the following paragraphs, we describe the most important facts that you will want to know about the course: for example, when and where it meets, the names and office hours of the instructors, the course requirements, dates and times of the exams, and the Academic Honor Principle as it applies to the course.

Textbook: Mathematics and Knowledge: Models of Reality, draft manuscript by Dwight Lahr. The text is available in the College Copy Center, Thayer Hall, at a no-profit cost of $23.00.

Dwight Lahr
410 Bradley, 646-2672
Office hours: MTuW: 1:00-2:00 (and by appt.)

David Rudel
1-A Bradley, 646-2565
Office Hours: TuWTh: 2:003:00 (and by appt.)

We both encourage you to contact us by e-mail for purposes of asking questions, making comments, or setting up meetings.

Graders, Tutors: To be identified later.

Class Meetings: MWF 10:00-11:05 in Bradley 102 (x-hour Th 12:00-12:50)

Homework: Each week exercises will be assigned that are intended to give you facility with the concepts being developed in class. All material will be covered in class, and you should be able to do the exercises listed for that day after having attended the class. Every Friday we will post the next week's assignments on the course website at

Class Discussions: Each student will be expected to participate in the class discussions, especially those that occur on Fridays. Some students may even want to volunteer--either individually or as part of a group--to lead a discussion on a given day. The student or students leading the discussion should be prepared to start off with a ten-minute presentation. The presentation should have been developed in consultation with either Dwight Lahr or David Rudel and might include approximately three to five questions that will be used to focus the discussion of the class following the presentation. The Friday discussions will provide a good opportunity to review homework exercises assigned in that week.

Examinations: There will be a mid-term examination and a final examination in the course. Each of these examinations will involve a take-home mathematical problem-solving part. Moreover, we want you to write at least one good research-paper on a mathematical topic this term. Here is what we mean.

The mid-term writing assignment will be to write a five-page double-spaced paper on a mathematical application in the everyday world. Approximately one week will be allowed to complete this part of the exam, and this paper will be worth a maximum of 50 points. If you score between 40 and 50 points, then no additional paper is necessary for the final and we will credit your final exam with 1.5 times your midterm score for a maximum of 75 points. If you fail to achieve at least 40 points on the midterm, then you will have to write a final paper. The final paper can be on the same topic but increased to seven pages, or it can be a seven-page paper on a new topic.

Even if you are not required to do so, you may choose not to take the credit and write another seven-page paper for the final for a maximum score of 75 points. All papers must involve mathematical ideas and should develop material that goes beyond what is covered in class.

Grading: Final grades for the course are determined primarily on the basis of performance on the two examinations. However, a student's contribution to class discussions, including, if applicable, his or her performance in leading a class discussion, will also be taken into account in the determination of the final grade. Moreover, the homework record will affect the grade in borderline cases. In the calculation of grades on the examinations, the problem-solving and research-paper parts are weighted equally, and the final examination counts 50% more than the mid-term. These formal weightings are reflected in the following point-scheme:

Mid-term (due in the week of February 1):
Problem-solving: 50 points
Paper: 50 points

Final (due on the first day of finals, Saturday, March 9):
Problem-solving: 75 points
Paper: 75 points (either by credit or a new paper)

Total Points: 250

Precise letter grades that take into account total performance will not be assigned until the end of the course. However, after the mid-term, you will be given enough guidance to determine the approximate level of your overall performance relative to a three-point scale such as "excellent, satisfactory, unsatisfactory." Feedback will also be provided on your contribution to class discussions.

Academic Honor Principle:
On exams: No help is to be given or received.
On homework: No copying. You may seek help as much as you need. You may work with other students except on exams, but must always write up whatever you are working on on your own. Copying from someone else's work, including the sharing of electronic or other files, is not permitted and is a violation of the honor principle.

Disabilities: We encourage students with documented disabilities, including "invisible" disabilities such as chronic diseases, learning disabilities, and psychiatric disabilities, to discuss possible accommodations with one of your instructors. Students might want to consult as well the Student Disabilities Coordinator, Nancy Pompian, at extension 6-2014, in the Academic Skills Center. In addition to providing information and services, the Center is in charge of registering disabilities and approving accommodations.

Math 5 Website: We have set up a website to organize the materials of the course. The address is We will place there all the handouts of the course, as well as the homework assignments.





Copyright © 2002 by C. Dwight Lahr