**Up: Math 689**

Survey of Mathematical Problems I

Fall 1996

This is a new course being developed by Harold Boas and Sue Geller. It was taught for the first time during the fall of 1995.

The course is designed to be a core part of the new Master's Program with Teaching Emphasis in the Department of Mathematics at Texas A&M University. The primary aim of the course is not to impart any specific body of knowledge, but rather to foster the students' understanding of what mathematics is all about. The goals of the course are:

- to increase students' mathematical knowledge and skills;
- to expose students to the breadth of mathematics and to many of its interesting problems and applications;
- to encourage students to have fun with mathematics;
- to exhibit the unity of diverse mathematical fields;
- to promote students' creativity;
- to increase students' competence with open-ended questions, with questions whose answers are not known, and with ill-posed questions;
- to teach students how to read and understand mathematics; and
- to give students confidence that, when their own students ask them questions, they will either know an answer or know where to look for an answer.

The hope is that after completing this course, students will have an expanded perspective on the mathematical endeavor and a renewed enthusiasm for mathematics that they can convey to their own students in the future.

During the fall of 1996, there were 6 registered graduate students from the Department of Mathematics. The material covered included units on logical reasoning, probability, graph theory, number theory, codes, game theory, and set theory and foundations.

The instructors have prepared an extensive guide to the course containing the materials that they wrote and distributed to the students. In addition, a local copy center reproduced a packet of approximately 300 pages of readings from primary and secondary sources.

The course met once a week on Tuesday evenings from 18:00-21:00. The course was taught mainly in the style of cooperative group learning, with the students working together to discover and to create their own mathematics. Evaluation was based on class participation, homework, and projects.

**Up: Math 689**

Created Jan 7, 1997.

Copyright © 1997 by Harold P. Boas. All rights reserved.