A really good way to understand mathematics is to learn and discover it on your own. You will select a mathematical topic, from the list provided below, read and teach yourself any necessary background you need to understand it, and then investigate the topic. You will work in groups of three. By working together you can learn from each other and share the experience. If you have a compelling reason not to work in a group of three, you MUST get permission from your instructor.
Your project for the semester consists of two parts, each of which count for one half the points you can earn for this aspect of the course. You will be working with a team to write a paper investigating some aspect of mathematics and then giving a presentation to the class on what you have learned and discovered.
Once you topic has been approved by your instructor, your group will write a four to five page "research"-type paper (double spaced, typed) and use this as this as the basis for a ten minute presentation to the class. The paper itself should be composed as follows: approximately half of it should be based on the material in the section of the book representing your topic; this part should be a summary in your words of what the authors have said. The remaining half is to investigate some aspect of that material that you and your partners find particularly interesting. You will need to do some research on your own from sources outside the textbook to accomplish this. These two aspects of the paper should blend together to form a cohesive report on the topic you have chosen. The audience for your paper, and of course your presentation, is the students in the class. The material should be written and presented so that other students will be able to understand the topic you are considering and can learn something about it.
In order to make your presentation easier for you to do and, hopefully, easier for your audience to understand, you might want to consider using some combination of the computer (perhaps a power point presentation), overheads (which can be prepared in advance), or even a poster to highlight various aspects of your topic. While your instructor will provide access to the equipment you might need (a computer, an overhead projector, etc.) to do this, it is expected that you know how to actually use whatever software your presentation requires.
The paper and presentation should be in your own words and not merely a copy of sentences or paragraphs from your sources. While you may obviously quote material from time to time, these should be properly attributed. You may want to include examples or solved problems if you feel these will lead to a better understanding of the material.
Note: Naturally, we expect that your paper and your presentation will avoid all plagiarism.
October 7: The date by which your 3 member project team, topic, and the date of your presentation must be determined. Keep in mind that in each class, teams must do different topics, and these topics will be given out on a first-come/first-serve basis. Likewise, because only 3 teams can present on a single day, presentation dates will be given out on a first-come/first-serve basis. You should mail the names of your team members, selected topic (include a first, second and third choice) and date (again, include a first, second and third choice) to your professor.
October 28, November 11, December 7, or December 14: possible days for your presentations. There needs to be three presentations in each of the first three days, with each presentation being 10-15 minutes.
December 9: Deadline for handing in your paper. We encourage you to hand it in earlier, if you can, to ease the end-of-semester crunch.