Welcome to Week Two

Number Systems (MATH103)

Weekly Material

This week we're going to start at the beginning with types of numbers, e.g. integers vs. rational numbers vs. real numbers. We'll also talk briefly about exponents and how they can be used two write very large numbers in a simple, compact way.

Each week I'll be posting supplemental material including links to websites with helpful videos in the weekly discussion board. If you're concerned about your current grade, I've also posted some additional suggestions in the Ask Your Instructor discussion board.

Weekly Motivation

In mathematics, you don't understand things. You just get used to them.[1]
-- John von Neumann

von Neumann's comment will be one of our topics in the discussion board this week. I think his approach sums up the way many people feel toward mathematics but it also points us toward an approach that you can use to improve your performance. They key to "getting used to" something is experience with it. The best thing you can do for yourself in a technical course like this one is working lots of problems. You should also be sure to ask questions when you come across problems you don't understand. I added the "What's Puzzling Me Thread" in the discussion board to give everyone a place to post those questions.

[1] Reply to Felix T. Smith who had said "I'm afraid I don't understand the method of characteristics." —as quoted in The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics (1984) by Gary Zukav footnote in page 208.

Assignment Schedule

Discussion (Intriguing Formulas) This is this week's regular discussion. Your response to the initial prompt should be posted by the end of the day on Tuesday. This discussion asks you to come up with an "interesting" formula. If you're having trouble coming up with something, try thinking first about a specific topic that interests you. For example, instead of searching for something generic like "interesting formulas", try looking for "sports formulas" or "construction formulas". In your initial post, be sure that you give the formula, an explanation of the formula and an explanation of how the formula is used.

Discussion (Essential Questions) This discussion is the first in a series of assignments that will culminate in your submission of the portfolio project

MML Homework/Quiz You have a homework assignment and a quiz that must be completed on the MML website. This homework assignment can be attempted multiple times so if you aren't satisfied with your grade on your first attempt, you should continue working on the assignment until your grade gets to where you want it to be. The quiz can only be attempted once.