Introduction to Mathematical Modeling (Math 1470)

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

Department of Mathematics and Statistics

COURSE INFORMATION

COURSE DESCRIPTION

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 +).

COURSE OBJECTIVES

  • 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

TENTATIVE COURSE SCHEDULE

See the Instructor for the schedule

CLASS POLICIES

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.

Class Rules

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