Professor Kate Poirier | OL67 | Fall 2020

Category: Assignment Instructions (Page 1 of 5)

Final exam checklist

Step-by-step instructions

Summary: There are 6 steps below: (1) sign up for an interview, (2) find your student ID card and a timer, (3) access your questions, (4) write out solutions, (5) scan your work, and (6) submit your work.

  1. Before you take your test, sign up for a post-test interview time slot here.
  2. Grab your student ID card so it’s handy when you’re scanning your work. Set a timer for 2 hours and 30 minutes. This will count down to the time that your written work must be uploaded by.
  3. Start your timer. Access your test questions in WeBWorK by selecting Take FINAL EXAM see OpenLab for instructions test. This will probably appear near the bottom of the page.
    • The final exam has three sets of questions (10 questions total). Answer one question from each set (so answer 3 questions total).
      • Answer one question from Set A: questions 1, 2, or 3
      • Answer one question from Set B: questions 4, 5, 6, or 7
      • Answer one question from Set C: questions 8, 9, or 10
        • For example, answer questions 1, 5, and 9
  4. Write out your solutions to your questions on paper. Show all your work. Label your questions clearly. Include your name and EMPLID on each piece of paper.
  5. Scan your work to create a single PDF of all your written work. Include your student ID card in the scan; place it on the page but make sure it’s not covering any of your work. Name your file lastnameMAT2680FinalExam.pdf.
  6. Submit your work: upload your written work here. You have 30 minutes

Most of the information below appears in the original Test #1 post, but is copied here for convenience.

Continue reading

Project #4

Due on the OpenLab Friday, December 18 (updated deadline)

You will have a lot more freedom for Project #4 than you have had for previous projects. This is a research project. You get to decide the topic and whether you’d like to work in a group or work alone.

The main goal of the project is to convince other students to learn differential equations. Your report should be understandable by someone who has completed a Calculus II course but who hasn’t taken a Differential Equations course.

Content requirements

For this research project, choose one application of differential equations and teach us about it. Your project may be as detailed as you like.

  • It must include a description of the real-world problem as well as a description of which differential equations are involved and how they are used to solve the problem.
  • For a particular equation, explain what the solution represents and what the other components of the equation represent.
  • Depending on the application you choose, you may or may not want to include a solution of the differential equation. For example, if your application involves a system of partial differential equations, you should not solve it! But if your application involves an ordinary differential equation of the type we’ve seen in this class, then you should include its solution.

Suggested topics

You have complete freedom in terms of the topic you choose. You were already introduced to some in Chapter 1 of your textbook. Here are some more ideas, though you are welcome to choose another one; just clear it with me first.

  • Epidemic spread SIR model (this would be an interesting choice during a pandemic, but don’t choose this one if it would be too traumatic for you)
  • Population growth with food supply
  • Hurricane forecasting
  • Tacoma Narrows bridge collapse
  • Fluid dynamics
  • Three-body problem
  • Preditor-prey model
  • Black-Scholes equation (finance)
  • Navier-Stokes equation (this has an interesting cultural component as a Clay Millennium problem)
  • More ideas available here


Your final report can take any form you like. Here are some suggestions:

  • a written essay that’s around 1 to 2 pages long (may include video links)
  • a video you record that’s around 5 minutes long
  • a sequence of Tik Tok videos
  • a poster (a scientific-style poster or one with more graphic-design flair)
  • something more creative (here is a really cool idea)


As usual, the internet is sort of the wild west when it comes to looking for useful information. There is some good stuff, but it can be hard to find. Here are some possible starting points:

  • your textbook or another differential equations textbook
  • online notes from a differential equations class at a university
  • Wikipedia
    • Okay, Wikipedia is not always super reliable! You are probably not allowed to use it as a source for your other research projects, but you may use it here if it’s not your only source. Some Wikipedia articles provide about the right level of detail for a project like this. You can always scroll to the references at the bottom of the page for more resources.

Academic integrity

No plagiarism is allowed! Your work must be your own and you must cite any sources you use.

First steps

Comment below with the topic you are interested and whether you want to work alone or if you’re looking for a group. Reply to your classmate’s comment if you’d like to join their group and establish a way to be in contact.

Submitting your work

Post your report (or a link to your report if it’s not in a written format) on the OpenLab with the title Project #4 [topic]. Select the category Project #4 before publishing. Don’t forget to include everyone’s names!

The point

The point of this assignment is just to learn something new and to have fun doing it! Whatever form your assignment takes, there must be mathematical content, but you don’t need to stress too much if you don’t develop a deep understanding of it. Just tell us what you learned. Remember, your report should be understandable by someone who has taken Calculus II but not Differential Equations.

Test #3 & Test #3 review assignment

Test #3

Thursday, December 3 & Friday, December 4

Test #3 will cover material from Sections 6.1, 6.3, 7.2, and 7.3.

There will be three questions: one spring question and one circuit question from chapter 6 and one series solution one from chapter 7. You will answer only two of the three questions.

Other than the number of questions, the structure of Test #3 will be exactly the same as that for Tests #1 and #2. The Test #3 checklist with interview sign-up sheet and upload link will be posted next week.

Test #3 review assignment

Due on the OpenLab Sunday, November 29

Your Test #3 review assignment is almost the same as the review assignments for Test #1 and #2 (the instructions for the Test #1 review assignment are here).

You will share your complete solution to one problem on the OpenLab. Choose one problem from:

  • the WeBWorK set Practice Springs
  • the WeBWork set Practice Circuits
  • textbook homework from Section 7.2
    • p.329: 1, 3, 8, 11-13, 19-25 odd
  • textbook homework from Section 7.3
    • p.338: 1-5 odd, 19-23 odd, 33-37 odd, 41-45 odd

(Note that the WeBWorK sets Practice Springs and Practice Circuits are optional and will not count toward your WeBWork grade)

Don’t forget to add the category Test #3 Review before you publish your post

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