Math 103: Contemporary Math (2)
Spring, 2014 MW  3:00 - 4:20 PM
ROOM: KA 102 
(Last Revised on 2/15/2014 )
Study Zone: 2 Hours Study for 1
        Hour Class

Math 103                          COURSE INFORMATION                          M. Flashman
Contemporary Mathematics (2)                                                       Spring, 2014
MW  3:00 - 4:20  PM                                                ROOM: KA 102 

OFFICE: BSS 346                                           PHONE:826-4950
Office Hours : MW: 13:00 - 13:50 BSS 346;
  T:  15:00-16:50 R: 14:00-15:50 BSS 308;

PREREQUISITE: Mathematics General Education Ready

E-MAIL: flashman at     WWW:

Truth, Reasoning, Certainty & Proof:  Discovering the Art of Mathematics by Julian F. Fleron and Philip K. Hotchkiss with Volker Ecke and Christine von Renesse (Available free on-line- printed version at HSU Bookstore.)
Optional: Flatland: A Romance of  Many Dimensions by E. Abbott.  (pdf version) An alternative web site for Flatland.

Catalog description: MATH 103. Contemporary Mathematics. Non-mathematicians see some of the character of mathematics. Topics vary. [Prereq: math remediation completed or not required. GE.]

SCOPE: In this course we will explore topics in mathematics that have arisen from attempts to define and explain experience both formally and informally.
 Limitations, unexpected consequences and applications resulting from the development of concepts illustrate the power of mathematics
to measure, to translate, to transform, and to classify. Discussions will range over topics not covered in the text as well as those treated in the text.
Readings and materials will be from the assigned texts and materials linked to the course on the world wide web and occasional handouts as appropriate.

Course Student  Learning Outcomes   The following are some of the objectives I hope we can accomplish together through this course this semester.

(Taken from HSU Catalog GE Area B):  Mathematical Concepts
Upon  completing this requirement, students will be able to:

(Taken from various sources.)
* Read expository mathematics with understanding and appreciation.
    * Appreciate the breadth of what mathematics is and the beauty of it as a subject of inquiry and as a tool for explaining phenomena in the world.
    * Articulate mathematical ideas in both oral and written forms.
    * Work together on mathematics in small groups.

Moodle.  We will use MOODLE as one of the learning and feedback tools in this class.  In addition to keeping you updated with class assignments and expectations and making announcements as needed, I will post regular class notes.

You should take some time to explore the site to see where I will post various things, including the assignments.  Again, it is important for you to check MOODLE regularly – I would advise at least twice a week – and keep up with the assignments and expectations as posted there.

Assignments: There will be graded assignments usually consisting of  3 to 5 problems, essays, or activities.
Other problems and activities, assigned in class, will be a source for class discussions 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 preliminary portfolio entry should be submitted for preview feedback and advice no later than  February 24th. (revised  2-15)
A second entry is due for review no later than March 10th.
A third entry is due for review no later than April 7th.
A fourth and any more entries are due for review no later than April 21st.
*The entire complete and revised portfolio is due by
Friday, April 25th  before 1 pm.

If you are working toward the grade of B or A you will need to submit additional entries with your portfolio. You may obtain optional feedback on these  (if you desire it)  by bringing them to me for preview during my office hours or by appointment. I recommend  producing an entry almost weekly for the grade of A and then selecting your best efforts for your portfolio.

A portfolio entry can report on the content of  reading, illustrate it by examples, work through several related exercises and activities if available 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 mathematics discussed in class or in the readings. Personal observations, philosophical musings, and aesthetic judgments are not adequate 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 Friday, April 25th before 1 P.M.

The Project. Each student will participate in a course project as a part of a partnership. Each partnership will have three or four members. These projects will be designed with assistance from myself. 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 pm, Monday, February  24th.
Projects should be submitted for grading by Friday, May 2nd before noon.

A Project Fair will be organized for displays and presentations during the time scheduled for the final examination, Wednesday, May 14 starting at 3:00 pm. Details will be discussed later.
There is NO FINAL EXAMINATION for the course.

ADVICE: I am available during office hours and by appointment to consult with individuals or partnerships on particular portfolio entries and/or project ideas. Don't be shy!


Technology: The computer offers a very useful tool to enhance visual and computational understanding as well as a powerful device for discovering and presenting resources on the world wide web. 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 may 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 work on in-class activities, assignments, projects, and portfolios.

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

Minimum Standards:
** 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 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 satisfactory entries.

** Without some compensating work, missing components of the mimimum standards for the grade of C or CR may result in a grade of D or F. There will not be "extra credit" assignments for indviduals.

** 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 2 (or 5) entries beyond the work submitted for grade of C.
[Thus submit a total of 6 entries for a B and 9 entries for an A.]
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 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 straws
one dozen pipe cleaners.

University Policies

Students with Disabilities: Persons who wish to request disability-related accommodations should contact the Student Disability Resource Center in the Learning Commons, Lower Library, 826-4678 (voice) or 826-5392 (TDD).
Some accommodations may take up to several weeks to arrange. 

Add/Drop policy: Students are responsible for knowing the University policy, procedures, and schedule for dropping or adding classes.

See the University rules and dates related to the following:

Emergency evacuation: Please review the evacuation plan for the classroom (posted on the orange signs), and review  for information on campus Emergency Procedures.
During an emergency, information can be found campus conditions at: 826-INFO or

Academic honesty: Students are responsible for knowing policy regarding academic honesty: or

Attendance and disruptive behavior: Students are responsible for knowing policy regarding attendance and disruptive behavior:

Back to Martin Flashman's Home Page :)

Last updated:2-15-2014