Category: Assignment Instructions

Semester Project – Group Presentations: Description and Grading Criteria

Group Presentations Schedule :
All Group Presentations will take place on Tuesday, 12/7/21, at the beginning of class

The last significant group assignment for your semester project is a group presentation (there will be one more individual assignment, a reflection on the process, which will be assigned near the end of the semester).  I’ll put the details here, followed by an outline of the grading criteria. The presentation is worth 20 points total.

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Semester Project – Group Process Paper

In his essay A Mathematician’s Lament, Paul Lockhart says “A good problem is something you don’t know how to solve.” This is quite different from most of the “problems” that appear in our mathematics education.  In the past weeks, you’ve all spent some time individually and in groups working on such problems, in the context of graph theory (“Bridges and Walking Tours”).

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OpenLab Assignment: Proof Journal

Your assignment for the coming week+ is to try to prove the conjecture that your group created in class on Tuesday, 10/21 (10/21 working space (Google Doc) with group conjectures is here).  You may need to refine/expand your conjecture first (let’s discuss this in class).   You must spend at least 90 minutes working on this.  Trying to prove something can consist of many different activities, such as the following (you do NOT have to do all of these things – you can choose how to spend your time – they are provided for inspiration only).

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OpenLab Assignment: Lockhart’s Lament

In 2002, a mathematician named Paul Lockhart wrote an essay called “A Mathematician’s Lament,” a passionate criticism of mathematics education in America.  It has become widely known among mathematicians and mathematics educators – not everyone agrees with everything he says (though many do), but everyone seems to have something to say about “Lockhart’s Lament,” as it is called.  For this week’s assignment, you will read a short excerpt (three pages) from his essay and respond to the prompts below.

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OpenLab Assignment – Bridges and Walking Tours

The assignment below is due BEFORE CLASS on Tuesday, October 12th (it is essential that you complete it before class, as we will be doing a class activity building on the assignment).

We are going to play a game creating walking tours of cities with bridges.  We begin in the city of King’s Mountain, which is built on four land masses – both shores of a river and two islands in midstream – connected by a total of seven bridges (shown in green).

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Discussion – Sentences

Due Tuesday, 9/21/20.  For this week’s writing assignment, take a look at the picture below called “Sentences.”  Read every sentence in the picture.  As you read, pay attention to your own stream of consciousness – what are the thoughts that pop into your head?  For full credit, respond to all 4 of the following items.

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Below is an outline of all the components that make up our semester project. The links to each individual assignment will become active when they are assigned. The schedule is preliminary and dates may be adjusted as the semester progresses. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

-Prof. Reitz

Project Outline

  1. Begin playing with your puzzle individually.  Students will complete an assignment exploring & experimenting with the puzzle (Bridges & Walking Tours), solving some examples and creating their own.  Assigned 9/30/21,  Due 10/7/21 (NOTE: exam scheduled 9/30/21).
    1. Class Commitment: 10 minute check-in on 10/5/21 to answer questions
    2. Deliverable #1 (5 points): Students will complete the assignment on the OpenLab (due at start of class).
  2. Continue playing with your puzzle in groups. Students will be notified of their groups in class and have an opportunity to explore their puzzles with their groups, trying each others’ creations and collectively inventing new examples as a group. In class 10/12/21.
    1. Class Commitment:  30 minutes in class
    2. Deliverable #2 (5 points group + individual): Groups will submit 3 new examples at the end of class,  Individuals will complete & submit 5 minute written reflection on the process.
  3. Create a conjecture individually.  Students will complete a reading illustrating the process of formulating a conjecture based on a puzzle.  They will respond to the reading on the OpenLab, and will create a conjecture related to their puzzle to bring to class.  Due 10/21/21 (START OF CLASS)
    1. Class Commitment: None, students will complete reading & respond on the OpenLab, (and bring preliminary conjectures on paper next week).
    2. Deliverable #3 (2 points): Individual conjecture (NOTE: OpenLab response is counted under “OpenLab” grade)
      Reading – excerpt from “Mathematician’s Lament”
  4. Groups choose a conjecture to focus on.  Students will share their conjectures in groups, refine & choose one conjecture to focus on.  10/21/21 in class
    1. Class Commitment: 40 minutes in class
    2. Students will bring preliminary conjectures to class for review (one per group).
      1. Don’t post these on the OpenLab, as I’d prefer groups to come up with conjectures without reference to other groups’ work.
    3. During class, groups will share & discuss their conjectures and together choose one (or formulate a new one) to focus on.  I will work with each group to provide some direction and help refine their conjecture.
    4. Deliverable #4 (5 points group + individual): Groups will submit their final conjecture at the end of class. Individuals will reflect on the process (5 min writing), and also submit the preliminary conjecture brought with them at start of class.
  5. Work on proving your conjecture, individually and in groups.  Students will work both individually and in groups to try to prove their conjecture, keeping track of attempted strategies (“journal”).  Journal, including description of group and individual activity, will be submitted by each student on the OpenLab.  Assign 10/28/21, Due 11/9/21.
    1. Deliverable #5 (8 points): Individual journal submitted on OpenLab
  6. Group meetings w/ instructor (#1).  In-class meeting with groups ~ progress check, make suggestions, etc.  Revised Conjecture due after class, on OpenLab. 11/9/21
  7. Group meetings w/ instructor (#2).  In-class meeting with groups ~ progress check, make suggestions, etc. 11/16/21
  8. Group paper initial draft.  Groups will submit a paper describing the puzzle, their conjecture, and attempts to prove it, and reflecting on the process.  Due 11/23/21
    • Deliverable #6: Group paper submitted 11/23/21.
  9. Group paper final draft.  Groups revise paper based on feedback from initial draft.
    • Deliverable #7 (35 points): Final draft of group paper (Grading Criteria). Due 12/2/21
  10. Group presentation.  Groups will convert the paper into a 5 minute class presentation.  In-class 12/2/21 and 12/7/21
    1. Deliverable #8 (20 points): 10 minute presentation, 2 groups per day.
  11. Individual reflection.  Individuals will submit a reflection on the entire project process, including description of their own & others’ contributions.  
    1. Deliverable #9 (10 points): reflection, due 12/17.
  12. Deliverable #10 (10 points): overall project participation, based on completion of deliverables, group contributions, etc.

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