Introduction to Mathematical Modeling (Math 1470)
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
Department of Mathematics and Statistics
- Instructor: Dr. Ping-Jung "Charlene" Tintera
This course is about mathematical models. You will study five or six of the most
important, broadly useful kinds of models we can teach with algebra prerequisite.
In the most basic sense, you will learn what a mathematical model is; what kinds
of models are useful in a variety of situations; basic methods for elaborating
and interpreting models; and how computers can help understand mathematical models.
PREREQUISTITES FOR THE COURSE
MATH 1314, College Algebra, or equivalent, or placement into the course (see http://www.sci.tamucc.edu/~mathweb/advising.html
for more information on placement).
TEXT AND OTHER SUPPLIES REQUIRED
Modeling for the Millions, Blair Sterba-Boatwright, published by Fountainhead
Press. You should also have a calculator (either TI-83 or TI-83 +).
- Objective #1. You begin the class by learning the definition of and purpose
for mathematical models through memorization and writing about examples. You
need to do this so that when you encounter models in other courses and in
your careers, you will be able to recognize them as such and know what models
can and cannot tell you.
- Objective #2. Past math classes taught you skills, but usually not how they
will be useful in your majors and careers. In this class, you will learn how
to work out the algebraic details of different kinds of models with utility
in a wide variety of situations. You will learn this through example and practice
in lecture, lab, and homework.
- Objective #3. You will learn how to make inferences and predictions about
real life based on mathematical models. You will do this in lectures, labs
and homework by producing and analyzing graphs and tables of numbers, as well
as memorizing important features of common models. We ask you to do this because
when you encounter mathematical models in the future, it is important to be
able to evaluate them yourselves to see if you agree with the conclusions
of the original modelers.
- Objective #4. You will learn basic graphing and formulaic skills in Excel
in the labs. We will introduce you to these skills, then expect you to be
able to perform them as needed later in the course. We feel that these Excel
skills will be directly and immediately useful for other classes and for the
rest of your life.
- Objective #5. As opportunities arise during the semester, you will learn
algebraic skills that you may not have seen, or didn't understand the first
time, or just plain forgot. We do this because we regard these topics as important
skills in careers and life, and because we think any people who call themselves
"educated" should be able to do these things.
- Core Curriculum: This course satisfies the mathematics requirement of the
Core Curriculum. In particular, all five course goals listed above address
the Mathematics Skill component of the core. We will also work on the Core
Skills of Critical Thinking and Writing in lecture, in homework assignments,
and in labs. The course also addresses the Core Perspectives 3 ("The
phenomena of the physical work and the relationship of the individual and
society to it.") and 4 ("The relationships among abstract quantities.")
INSTRUCTIONAL METHODS AND ACTIVITIES
The class uses lecture format. The lab meetings are held in a computer laboratory,
and consist of directed student inquiries with a lab assistant to help as needed.
EVALUATION AND GRADE ASSIGNMENT
- Homework: 10%
- Attendance: 10%
- Tests: 20% each (3 tests)
- Final: 20%
- Labs: 20%
- Grade Ranges: A: 90-100 B: 80-89 C: 70-79 D: 60-69 F: 59 and under.
- DO NOT GIVE ANY JUMP for borderline case.
- Homework exercises: Homework exercises will be assigned, collected and returned
on a weekly basis. Homework exercises are either questions that ask you to
reflect about material we've gone over in class, or calculations and predictions
based on data or models. Homework exercises may be turned in as group work
(that is, more than one name on the paper, up to three people.) In general,
homework is due on Wednesday the week after it is assigned. The semester homework
grade is determined by the formula
(total of all HW points you received) / (total of all HW points possible)
- Labs: Each of you is also registered for a lab section for this course.
In that lab, you will be using a computer to work problems and examples that
are too complicated or tedious to do by hand. Specific instructions for each
lab can be found in the lab manual sold at the bookstore. Lab sections are
conducted by graduate Teaching Assistants, and your TA will collect and grade
your lab work. Labs have three parts:
- Practice table: Most labs (although not the introductory Lab 0) have
a "Practice Table" to fill in. We expect you to read the lab
and think about the Excel formulas you'll need to do the lab before actually
coming to lab. Practice Tables must be done individually, and are due
without exception at the start of your lab session for that Lab. Late
Practice Tables are not accepted. Practice Tables count 10% of your lab
grade if you turn them in, but you must turn in a Practice Table to get
credit for that Lab.
- In the Lab: As the title says, this is the part of the lab you are expected
to do in the lab session. You may submit your "In the Lab" work
as part of a group (no more than three people to a lab writeup). The due
date for "In the Lab" work is the start of the following week's
lab meeting. After the Lab: These are questions that you can do in the
lab, but can also be done any time before your next lab meeting. Again,
you may submit your "In the Lab" work as part of a group (no
more than 3 people to a lab writeup). The due date for "In the Lab"
work is the start of the following week's lab meeting. Warning: no make
up or late lab work will be graded. If two groups have the same copy of
homework, I will consider a ZERO for both groups.
- Tests and Final: I will discuss these in more detail as the times for them
approach. As a general rule of thumb, tests cover the material from lecture,
homework, and the "Practice Table" part of the labs. You will be
permitted one 8.5 by 11 "cheat sheet" of notes for each test and
for the final exam.
TENTATIVE COURSE SCHEDULE
See the Instructor for the schedule
Attendance Please plan to attend each and every class
meeting. It will be difficult to complete daily work and homework if you
donít. If for some reasons you are not able to attend class, please notify the
instructor as soon as possible. You are the only person responsible for your
registration in this class. If you do not wish to continue the course, you may
drop it without my signature. If you decide this, I welcome a chance to meet
with you so that you can be sure that dropping is necessary. On the other hand,
no one but yourself can drop you. If you quit coming to class and do not drop,
I will be forced to assign you a grade based on the work you have completed,
usually an F
Help: Free tutoring is available at the Tutoring and Student
Learning Center on the Second floor of the library. A student solution manual
is also available on reserve in the library and for sale in the bookstore. A
computer-tutoring program is also available there. Wherever you get it, donít
wait for the last minute to get help.
- Attendance in lab: I am more concerned about lab attendance than lecture
attendance. Please attend the lab you signed up for. If you do not attend
lab, for whatever reason, you must turn in your lab work by yourself, not
as part of a group. In general, I DO NOT accept homework and labs after the
- Missed tests/final: If you are unable to attend a test or the final and
you wish to make it up, I need to hear from you no later than 24 hours after
the missed test or final. You should be able to provide adequate documentation
of why your absence was necessary. If you wait more than 24 hours to contact
me, you will also need to provide adequate documentation of why you were unable
to meet the 24-hour deadline. As an example, "I was called out of town
unexpectedly on business" might be a valid reason to miss a test, but
it is not an adequate reason to miss the 24-hour notification requirement.
- Multiple TA's: There may be more than one teaching assistant assigned to
labs for this class. In similar situations in past semesters, I found that
one TA or another was an easier grader or a harder grader than the others.
At the same time, by random chance, some labs have better-performing students
than others. There are standard statistical tests to determine if particular
TA's are grading harder or easier than their peers. At the end of the semester,
I will run these statistical tests and use curves to correct for differences
between TA's if they are statistically significant.
- Students with disabilities: The Mathematics Program complies with the Americans
with Disabilities Act in making reasonable accommodations for qualified students
with disabilities. If you need disability accommodations in this class, please
see me as soon as possible. Please have your accommodation letter from TAMU-CC
Services for Students with Disabilities Office with you when you come see
me. If you suspect that you may have a disability (physical impairment, learning
disability, psychiatric disability, etc.), please contact the Services for
Students with Disabilities Office (located in Driftwood 101) at 825-5816.
It is important that you contact them in a timely fashion as it may take several
days to review requests and prepare accommodations.
- Attendance in lecture: I will take attendance each class meeting. You are
the only person responsible for your registration in this class. If you do
not wish to continue the course, you have to talk to your degree councilor.
If you quit coming to class and do not drop, I will be forced to assign you
a grade based on the work you have completed. This is usually an F. Please
do not let this situation occur. If you have more than 6 (3 times) unexcused
absences, your final grade will be dropped by TWO(One)
letter grades. IF YOU MISSED THE DATE FOR FINAL EXAM, YOU WILL BE ASSIGNED
A ZERO FOR THE FINAL. YOU WILL NOT HAVE ANY OTHER CHANCE TO MAKE UP FOR THE