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Course Information

Instructor Info:Sarah Hews
Office Extension x5414
TA Info:Mitchell Krieger
Term: 2012F
Meeting Info: Monday Wednesday Friday
09:00 AM - 10:20 AM Cole Science Center 316
09:00 AM - 10:20 AM Cole Science Center 316
09:00 AM - 10:20 AM Cole Science Center 316
Description:

Calculus provides the language and some powerful tools for the study of change. As such, it is an essential subject for those interested in growth and decay processes, motion, and the determination of functional relationships in general. Using student-selected models from primary literature, we will investigate dynamical systems from economics, ecology, epidemiology and physics. Computers are essential tools in the exploration of such processes and will be integral to the course. No previous programming experience is required. Topics will include: 1) dynamical systems, 2) basic concepts of calculus-- rate of change, differentiation, limits, 3) differential equations, 4) computer programming, simulation, and approximation, 5) exponential and circular functions. While the course is self-contained, students are strongly urged to follow it up by taking NS 316-Linear Algebra or NS 261-Calculus II to further develop their facility with the concepts. In addition to regular substantial problem sets, each student will apply the concepts to recently published models of their choosing.

Course Objectives:

There are four main course objectives:

  • To develop a conceptual understanding of Calculus topics in non-idealized systems.
  • To become proficient at the mechanics of Calculus in idealized systems.
  • To be able to connect topics in Calculus to other interests.
  • To be able to communicate concepts in Calculus.
  • To become proficient at using computational tools.
Evaluation Criteria:

Evaluations will discuss the student's proficiency and improvement on the course objectives.  Below is a list of how each course objective will be evaluated.  Students that come in without experience in Calculus and students who come in with experience in Calculus will be expected to show substaintial improvement in their understanding of the following: 

  • Conceptual understanding of Calculus topics in non-idealized systems.
    • In class problems
    • Frequent (almost daily) HW problem sets
    • Performance on Calculus Concept Inventory (CCI)
  • To become proficient at the mechanics of Calculus in idealized systems.
    • HW problem sets
    • 3 in class skills exercises
  • To be able to connect topics in Calculus to other interests.
    • Semester long project (article selection, worksheet development, final project)
  • To be able to communicate concepts in Calculus.
    • In class discussions
    • Project presentation
  • To become proficient at using computational tools.
    • HW problems sets
    • Project

 Students who complete the following are guaranteed an evaluation in the course.

  1. 18/20 HW problem sets on time; HW not completed on time can be turned in with the portfolio but will not be accepted late.
  2. CCI & 3 skills exercieses (in class on scheduled day).  
  3. On time completion of project materials (uploaded article, completed worksheets).
  4. A project presentation.
  5. A completed course portfolio handed in on Dec 12 in class.
Additional Info:

Portfolio

A course portfolio will be handed in on Dec 12 in class.  It should contain all of the problem sets, skills exercises, and project materials.  A detailed list will be posted shortly.

 

Course Expectations

I expect that you will need to spend between 6-10 hours a week outside of class developing your understanding of Calculus.  Organizing your time wisely and staying on top of assignments will allow you to really learn the material.  Working with other students is encouraged - remember, teaching someone else is the best way to test your understanding.  Improvement is the most important thing.  

 

Course Materials

All course materials will be posted on Moodle.  The book that we will be using is online at http://www.math.smith.edu/Local/cicintro/cicintro.html.   Since we will be using computers for simulations, you do not need a scientific calculator.

 

Software

We will be using Sage, a python-based software system.  I will need to assign you a username/password (your username will be your standard Hampshire login) before you can access the worksheets at sage.hampshire.edu.