Mth108 Topics in Mathematics – Spring 2005

Section 01 meets T,R: 11:00-12:15
Whales Hall 223

Instructor: Dr. Nancy Eaton, 874-4439,
Office:  Tyler Hall, Rm. 222, Kingston

Office hours:  Thursday 2:30-5:30

Course Description

Class work





Writing assignments Sol2 Sol3



 Key Exam1

Key Exam 2

Key Exam 3

Practice for exams


Students who require accommodations and who have documentation from
Disability Services (874-2098) should make arrangements with me as soon as possible.

Course Description and goals:  Math 108 is a special topics course that satisfies the general education requirement for math at the University of Rhode Island.  It introduces the non-mathematics student to the spirit of mathematics and its applications.  The content of the course varies from section to section and semester to semester.

In this section of this course, you will be introduced to some exciting ideas in mathematics that come from a wide variety of disciplines such as voting theory, graph theory, game theory, scheduling, counting, algebra, and fractal geometry. These topics will be presented along with real world applications such as voting schemes, fair division schemes, street networks, planning and scheduling, pattern recognition, and fractals in nature. Three skill areas are addressed, namely, reading of complex texts, use of quantitative data, and writing.

I hope that you will have a better understanding and appreciation for mathematics by the time you finish this course, that you will no longer think that math is only about balancing a check book and designing rockets, and that you will be proud to say that you LIKE math.  You may be surprised to find that taking further math courses is both possible and desirable.

We will use reading, writing, discussion, and world-wide-web assignments as methods of learning the topics covered in this course. You will discuss and work in groups in class as well as do some short presentations. Because of the high level of knowledge that will be imparted and assessed during class time, attendance will be mandatory. During class time, topics will be presented, examples given and then you will be given the opportunity to work examples on your own.

Text: The text for the course is:  Excursions In Modern Mathematics, 5th edition, by Peter Tannenbaum and Robert Arnold.  We will cover the following chapters.
1:  The Mathematics of Voting
3:  Fair Division, The Mathematics of Sharing
5:  Euler Circuits
6:  The Traveling Salesman Problem
7:  The Mathematics of Networks
8:  The Mathematics of Scheduling
11:  Symmetry
12:  Fractal Geometry

Note: There is much more material in our text than we could possibly cover this semester.  Read these entire chapters.  We will cover most of the material in these chapters.

Class work:  Examples and exercises will be worked on in class.  There will be some class discussion and working in groups.  This is a very important time to absorb the information and begin to understand how to apply it to problems.  This work will count as 10% of your grade.

World wide web assignments:  I will use e-mail to send you world-wide-web assignments. These will consist of the names of web sites and questions for you to answer about each site.  You are to visit these sites and respond to my e-mail with your answers to my questions. If you are unfamiliar with "surfing the web", visit a computer lab and ask for help.  Once you get started, you will find that it is a very easy thing to do. To start this process off, as soon as possible, send me an e-mail just saying hello with "MTH108" followed by your full name as the subject. Once I have e-mail from everyone, I will send out the first assignment.  This work will count as 10% of your grade.

Writing Assignments:  Short writing assignments will be given throughout the course.  These are writing intensive and will take quite a bit of time to complete.  Under Homework Assignments below, you will see the specific problems, selected from the text, for each writing assignment.  Follow these instructions carefully:

1)     (10pts) Your header should include your name, writing assignment number, list of problems in this assignment (including the problem numbers and chapter). 

2)     (10pts) Put the problems in the proper order.  Label them and all parts clearly.  Do not include any other exercises.

3)     (10pts) Only use one side of the paper.  Leave room for me to write comments.  Staple together all pages.

4)     (10pts) Write out the entire question and copy any charts or diagrams.

5)     (20pts) Give your solution in paragraph format, explaining clearly, exactly how you calculated every answer.  Explain it as if you are explaining it to someone who doesn’t know the theory.  You may break from paragraph format to give tables, diagrams, or equations.

6)     (20pts) Write neatly and follow rules of proper grammar.  Use of a word processor is recommended.

7)     (20pts) Emphasis will be placed on correct work and proper use of logic in your explanation.

The point values out of 100 points are given so that you know how your grade for these assignments will be determined.  This work will count as 15% of the final grade for the course.

Homework:   Problems are assigned from the book.  You are responsible to do all problems that are assigned.  We will work on some in class and you will hand some in as writing assignments.  It is best if you collect all of your homework in a loose-leaf notebook.  This is so that you can keep it in order and add corrections from class.  Often, one individual problem will take many passes before it is worked up completely correctly.  You must take the responsibility of seeing to it that you know how to correctly answer each homework problem.  Many problems will be presented in class.  Take notes and compare it to what you wrote.  The quizzes will be based on the homework.  If you understand every homework problem then you should have no trouble on the quizzes.

Tutors are available at the Academic Enhancement Center (AEC) in Roosevelt Hall.  AEC tutors can answer questions, clarify concepts, check your understanding, and help you to study. You can make an appointment or walk in anytime Monday through Thursday 10 AM to 10 PM, Fri 10 AM to 1 PM and Sunday 4 PM - 8 PM. For a complete schedule go to, call (401) 874-2367, or stop by the fourth floor in Roosevelt Hall.

Homework assignments:  Begin working on the exercises from each chapter when it is first introduced in class.  There will be some class time allowed for going over some questions on the homework.

Exercises from chapter 1:  starting on page 28:  1,9,17,19,20,27,31,33,34,35,37,41,43,45,49,51
Writing Assignment #1:  20, 34

Exercises from chapter 3:  starting on page 112.  1-17 (Odd), 39, 41, 43 47, 51
Writing Assignment #2:  10, 42 - Be sure to give reasons.

Exercises from chapter 5:  starting on page 203.  1, 5-11 (Odd), 15-19 (Odd) 23-29(Odd), 41,43, 63
Writing Assignment #3:  54 - Be sure to draw the picture and the graph models.

Exercises from chapter 6:  starting on page 247.  1,3,7,9,11, 19, 23-29 (Odd), 37-41 (Odd)

Exercises from chapter 7:  starting on page 293.  1-7 (Odd), 11-15 (Odd), 19, 21, 25

Exercises from chapter 8:  starting on page 342.  7-11 (Odd), 17-21 (Odd), 25-29 (Odd) 35, 36, 39, 47, 50
Writing Assignment #4:  36 - Do 35 first to check your understanding
                                   and 50 - Do 47 first to check your understanding

Exercises from chapter 11:  starting on page 453.  1, 3,13,15,29-39 (Odd), 45,47

Exercises from chapter 12:  starting on page 500.  1, 2a, 3a, 5(a, b), 9, 10a, 11a, 15
Writing Assignment #5:  9, 10a, 11a - Use graph paper and start with a very large square - Do not trace solution

Quizzes:   Quizzes will be given based on the homework.  Problems will be selected at random from the homework to demonstrate your understanding of the material. If you miss a quiz, no makeup will be given, instead, the two lowest quiz grades will be dropped and the rest will be averaged to give 15% of the grade for the course.  You are responsible to get from me a copy of the quizzes that you miss.

Exams:   Three exams will be given on the material from the chapters indicated.  The exam questions will be based on the homework questions.  To prepare, make sure you understand homework and quiz solutions.  Solution keys will be given.

Final exam:  The final will be cumulative.  It will cover chapters that were covered on the previous 3 exams, namely, Chapters 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 8.

Course schedule:  The following is the schedule of events.  When a chapter is listed, we begin to cover the material in that chapter.  After introducing a chapter, we will used class periods to finish covering the chapter and going over examples and exercises.

Week of

Introduce Chapter

Thursday - Homework Due

Thursday - Exams

Tues Jan 18

Chapter 1



Tues Jan 25

Chapter 3

WA#1 (on Chapt1)


Tues Feb 1



Quiz 1 (on Chapt1)

Tues Feb 8

Chapter 5

WA#2 (on Chapt3)

Quiz 2 (on Chapt3)

Tues Feb 15



EXAM 1 (on 1 & 3)

Tues Feb 22

Chapter 6 (No class Tuesday)



Tues Mar 1


WA#3 (on Chapt5)

Quiz 3 (on Chapt5)

Tues Mar 8

Chapter 7


Quiz 4 (on Chapt6)

Tues Mar 22



EXAM 2 (on 5 & 6)

Tues Mar 29

Chapter 8


Quiz 5 (on Chapt7)

Tues Apr 5


WA#4 (on Chapt8)

Quiz 6 (on Chapt8)

Tues Apr 12

Chapter 11



Tues Apr 19



EXAM 3 (on 7 & 8)

Tues Apr 26

Chapter 12


Quiz 7 (on Chapt11)

Tues May 3


WA#5 (on Chapt12)


Tues May 10

Last class



Tues May 17



Final Exam 8:00-11:00 AM


Evaluation: The following percentages are given to compute your grade for the course.  Each category is described above.

10% - Class participation

10% - World-wide-web assignments

15% - Writing assignments

15% - Quizzes

30% - Three 1 hr exams  (10% each)

20% - Final Exam

Practice for Exams:

Practice for Exam 1            Solutions

Practice for Exam 2            Solutions

Practice for Exam 3 (including solution)


URI Civility Policy

The University of Rhode Island is committed to developing and actively protecting a class environment in which respect must be shown to everyone in order to facilitate the expression, testing, understanding, and creation of a variety of ideas and opinions. Rude, sarcastic, obscene or disrespectful speech and disruptive behavior have a negative impact on everyone's learning and are unacceptable. The course instructor will have disruptive persons removed from the class.