You have all worked hard on the mathematician project - good job! It is hard to teach, but it is a very rewarding experience because you first must learn the material very well. More importantly though, once you understand something, an entirely different perspective and level of depth is needed in order to try and effectively explain it to someone who has never seen it before, since you must revisit the material and think about the difficulties that people might have and the clearest way to help them understand it.. I wanted each of you to have this experience since this process is an important part of research and learning (in mathematics and in other fields) and it also provided us with a very different type of writing assignment.
The purpose of the pre-readings, worksheets, my attempts
to reinforce the material after each talk,
and the WebCT quizzes
is to help you learn the mathematics.
Keep retaking each quiz until you are sure that you understand the material.
In order to reinforce the material, I expect
you to run through arguments on a separate piece of paper
and to ask yourself WHY each question is true or false and whether you
could explain so on the test.
Run through these along with the mathematician questions.
Review the web readings
and class notes on material that you are unsure about.
About half of the WebCT problems have multiple versions, so be sure
to read each retake very carefully since similar versions can have
very different answers.
Recall that your grade is the highest of your retakes,
so once you have receive an A, you cannot receive a lower score.
I also advise you
to ask me questions on anything that you do not fully understand.
Most questions on the test will be related to the mathematician bullet point questions and the WebCT quiz questions, although they will mostly be short essay problems or short answer questions instead of true/false.
For example, instead of a true/false question about Erdos' party problem, you might be asked to complete the proof that 6 people always work from the point where 1 person knows 3 others (which was one of the mathematician questions).
Some questions might require that you put some ideas together. For example, you might be asked why 178212 + 184112 = 192212 can not hold (we've now seen two very different reasons why).
Additional questions will be related to big picture ideas on material that you should have absorbed from attending class and lab, such as the idea of joining the "club of mathematicians" and some of the methods of creative inquiry we learned from the mathematics of these mathematicians. Be sure to review the What is Mathematics? and the creative inquiry readings too and be able to relate them to the mathematicians we studied.
You should be prepared to choose the mathematician (from among those we discussed this semester) you most identify with, and be able to explain why.
As always, I'm happy to help with anything in office hours or via the WebCT bulletin board.