Martin Flashman's Courses- Math 103 Spring, 2005
Contemporary Mathematics (Visual)
Spring, 2005 TTh  14:00 -15:20
ROOM: SH 128

Last revised 2-21-05

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Math 103                                                                                 COURSE INFORMATION                                                                         M.Flashman
Contemporary Mathematics (Visual)                                                                                                                         Spring, 2005
TTh  14:00 - 15:20                                                                                                                                            ROOM:SH 128

OFFICE: Library 48  E-MAIL:    PHONE:826-4950
Office Hours (Tent.)- MF 14:30-15:20  TR 12:20-13:30; AND BY APPOINTMENT or chance!

PREREQUISITE: Math Code   40 

TEXTS: REQ'D.:Flatland: A Romance of  Many Dimensions by E. Abbott.
Experiments in Topology by S. Barr.
Configuration Theorems by B. Argunov & L. Skornyakov.
Mathematics: A Practical Odyssey by Johnson and Mowry - CUSTOM EDITION  Available at HSU Bookstore.

Catalog description:
MATH 103. Contemporary Mathematics (3) Nonmathematicians see some of the character of mathematics. Topics vary.
Prerequisites: MATH 42 or 44 or 45 or math code 40.

SCOPE: This course will explore topics in mathematics that have arisen from attempts to define and explain the visual aspects of experience, such as symmetry, space dimension, surface, and motion. Limitations, unexpected consequences and applications resulting from the development of these concepts illustrate the power of mathematics to translate, to transform, to measure, and to classify. Lectures will discuss topics not covered in the texts as well as those treated in the texts.
Readings and materials will be from the assigned texts and materials linked to the course on the world wide web as appropriate.

General Education and Math 103: This course satisfies part of the Area B General Education Requirement at HSU in the category of Inquiry into mathematical concepts and quantitative reasoning and their applications.

This requirement helps students cope with, and participate in, the changing world. Recognizing the importance of scientific methods as investigative tools, the courses present science as a unified discipline with a major impact on the human condition.
In particular this course attempts to enhance the general education goals to:

ASSIGNMENTS: There will be graded assignments usually consisting of  3 to 5 problems or activities. Other problems, assigned in class, will be a source for class discussions and activities and will be used to indicate satisfactory class participation. Course materials, including this description, and returned assignments and class activities should be kept in a binder, forming the basis for an assignment as part of a final review of your work at the end of the course.

The Portfolio: Each student will organize a portfolio which should contain entries related to the content of this course but not discussed extensively in the lectures. No particular format or topics for entries are required, but each entry must have some substantial (as opposed to purely subjective) content. A minimum of 4 entries are required to achieve a grade of C. Sample portfolios may be viewed at Library 48 during office hours.  The portfolio (quality and quantity) will be used for determining letter grades above the C level.
One (or two) portfolio entries should be submitted for preview feedback and advice by February 25th.

A portfolio entry can report on the content of  reading, illustrate it by examples, and/or follow up on it with an individual response and creativity.

The content of the portfolio entry should relate specifically and directly to some visual mathematics. Personal observations, philosophical musings, and aesthetical judgments are not adequate connections to something visual by themselves to qualify as mathematical content.
Suggested resources for the entries may be found on the Assignment and Reading List.
Portfolios will be due for grading on Wednesday, April 27th before 5 P.M.

The Project. Each student will participate in a course project as a part of a team. Each team will have three or four members. These projects will be designed with assistance from myself and the course assistants. The quality of the project will be used for determining letter grades above the C level. Ideas for projects
will be discussed during the third week.
Click here for Project Proposal Guidelines and Suggestions

Preliminary Project Proposals should be submitted for first review by 5 p.m., February 25th.
Projects should be submitted for grading by Wednesday, April 27th before 5 P.M.

A Project Fair will be organized for displays and presentations during the last day of class. Details will be discussed later.


Technology: The computer offers a very useful tool to enhance visual and computational understanding as well as a powerful device for discoverying and presenting resources on the world wide web. An optional lab time will be organized that will be devoted to a number of different projects as well as working with mathematical software tools, such as Wingeom, Winplot, Windisc. (The software we use is all  freeware  available from the www site of Rick Parris or from me.) A short list of world wide web sites for further reading will be organized on a weekly basis with materials specifically related to the course topics.

GRADES: Four or more absences without extenuating circumstances will be justification for a grade of F.

Otherwise final grades will be determined by taking into consideration the quality of work done in the course as evidenced primarily by assignments, projects, and portfolios.

**Only the letter grades of A, B, C, D, and F will be given.  (No + or -'s)

** For the grade of C or CR a student must at least
     (1) have satisfactory attendance and participation,
     (2) have a satisfactory record on the daily assignments and class activities (about 80%  +'s),
     (3) have participated responsibly on a satisfactory group project,
and (4) have submitted a portfolio with at least 4 entries.

** For the grade of B (or A) a student must at least
       (1) be qualified for a grade of C,
and  (2) submit a portfolio with at least 3 (or 6) entries beyond the work submitted for grade of C.
The portfolio's quality will be used also to determine the final grade .

      Students wishing to be graded with either CR or NC should make this request using the on-line registration web site.

Tool Kit: You should have assembled for possible use at each class the following items:
a computer disc to keep course computer software [Wingeometry, Winplot?] and files.
a deck of playing cards
colored pencils or pens (6+)
fastener of some kind (stapler, tape, or glue stick)
rubber bands (at least 2)
string (at least a meter)
one dozen staws
one dozen pipe cleaners.

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Last updated:1-15-05