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Minicourses

There is a charge of $75 for each Minicourse.

#1— Mathematics for Business Decisions
#2— WeBWorK Homework Problems with Embedded Flash Applets
#3— Mathemagic with a Deck of Cards
#4— Making Math Relevant: A Multidisciplinary Sustainability Module for Calculus
#5— The Mathematics of Folding & Unfolding
#6— A Game Theory Path to Quantitative Literacy


  • #1 — Mathematics for Business Decisions
    Marilou Mendel, Pima Community College
    Part 1, Thursday, August 2, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
    Part 2, Friday, August 3, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. 

    This minicourse will provide participants with an overview of the MAA-published Mathematics for Business Decisions, with emphasis on recent enhancements to the program. Mathematics for Business Decisions is a two-semester sequence of courses designed for undergraduate business students. Mathematical and computer tools are studied in the context of four major, real-world business projects. Working in teams, the students develop solutions for the projects and prepare oral and written reports on the projects. We will explore how Mathematics for Business Decisions is implemented in the classroom as we work through one of the projects. In addition, we will discuss the resources available to assist instructors who choose to adopt this unique program. Participants are encouraged to bring a computer with Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7; and Excel, PowerPoint, and Word from Microsoft Office 2007 or 2010. All other materials will be provided.

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  • #2 —WeBWorK Homework Problems with Embedded Flash Applets
    Barbara Margolius, Cleveland State University; Dan Gries, The Hopkins School; and Felipe Martins, Cleveland State University
    Part 1, Thursday, August 2, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
    Part 2, Friday, August 3, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. 

    In this minicourse participants will learn how to write WeBWorK homework problems that incorporate Flash applets. We will give an overview of WeBWorK resources, including the National Problem Library, the MAA wiki, model courses, and instructor tools. Participants will learn how to write basic WeBWorK problems that do not involve applets. Next, we will demonstrate how to write problems for existing Flash applets. We will conclude with a discussion of what resources participants would like to see developed and what resources are available for those who wish to write their own applets to embed in WeBWorK problems. Bring a laptop with wireless capability.

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  • #3 —Mathemagic with a Deck of Cards
    "Card Colm" Mulcahy, Spelman College
    Part 1, Friday, August 3, 3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
    Part 2, Saturday, August 4, 3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. 

    There seems to be no end to the mathemagical things one can explore with a simple deck of cards, from algebra and combinatorics to probability and statistics. We'll survey a wealth of such material, both classical and recent. A special feature will be examples of "two-person mathemagic," in which communication is done via nontrivial preagreed mathematical conventions. The material can be used to liven up many mathematics classes and provides jumping- off points for undergraduate independent study.

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  • #4 —Making Math Relevant: A Multidisciplinary Sustainability Module for Calculus
    Thomas J. Pfaff and Jason Hamilton, Ithaca College
    Part 1, Friday, August 3, 3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
    Part 2, Saturday, August 4, 3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. 

    Do you want to improve student engagement and understanding of the relevance of calculus to everyday life, without sacrificing typical content? This minicourse will bring together data, Excel, sustainability, and a multidisciplinary approach to provide richer context and relevance for calculus. The module has students consider the 21st-century problem: What are the current and future impacts of global climate change on polar bears? Students then use real data and Excel, write a technical report, read reports written by students in data structures, ecology, and thermodynamics, and then complete a summary assignment to bring together the information for all disciplines. This minicourse provides the background information to successfully use the module, along with data sets and ideas for sustainability exercises. Participants will need Excel loaded onto their laptops and are encouraged to bring a calculator.

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  • #5 — The Mathematics of Folding & Unfolding
    Joseph O'Rourke, Smith College
    Part 1, Thursday, August 2, 3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
    Part 2, Saturday, August 4, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. 

    How many ways are there to flatten a cube? How can you cut out block letters for a whole word all at once with one straight scissors cut? Can every polygon fold to a polyhedron? These questions can be answered through the mathematics of folding and unfolding. We will study the mathematics underlying origami and unfolding of polyhedra, introducing fascinating combinatorial and geometric concepts that let students supplement their mathematical understanding with physical intuition. They can check conjectures and proofs by manipulating paper in their hands. These problems reach the frontiers of current mathematical research and provide accessible unsolved problems.

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  • #6 — A Game Theory Path to Quantitative Literacy
    David Housman, Goshen College
    Part 1, Thursday, August 2, 3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
    Part 2, Saturday, August 4, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. 

    Game theory, defined in the broadest sense, can be used to model many real-world scenarios of decision making in situations involving conflict and cooperation. Further, mastering the basic concepts and tools of game theory require only an understanding of basic algebra, probability, and formal reasoning. These two features of game theory make it an ideal path to developing habits of quantitative literacy among our students. This audience-participation minicourse develops some of the material used by the presenter in general education and math major courses on game theory and encourages participants to develop their own, similar, courses.

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Year: 
2012

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