
Math 108: Models of Life
General Information and Course Policies

What is
this course all about? This is a course devoted to the mathematics
of life. In particular, we will consider such questions as: How do you model
the growth of a population of animals? and How do mathematicians quantify
symmetry? Why do spiraling patterns exist in plants and animals and how
do we model them? We will model the spiral growth of seashells and the branching
patterns found in trees. We will also consider fractal growth in general.
The course will be projectdriven, and it will make extensive use of the
computer program Maple. There will be supplemental readings assigned outside
of class. The course will rely on ideas from a wide range of mathematical
fields including: geometry, linear algebra, mathematical modeling, and computer
graphics. 
Instructor:
Judy Holdener Office
Hours (in 307 Hayes Hall):
Mon. 
2:10  3:00 
Tues. 
1:10  2:00 
Wed. 
2:10  4:00 
Thurs. 
2:10  3:00 (and by appointment) 

Software:
There will be a considerable amount of work done with the aid of the computer
algebra system, MAPLE. The MAPLE program is available
for your use in Hayes 311 (evenings only) and Hayes 203 (during free hours
and in the evenings), and in other public network sites. I will assume no
prior knowledge of MAPLE, so you will learn what you need to know
as we go. 
Course
Objectives:
1. To see mathematics applied to nature. 
2. To learn how to construct basic mathematical models. 
3. To gain experience with computer programming. 
4. To learn how to communicate mathematical ideas in writing and
in speaking. 
5. To be exposed to a wide variety of mathematics. 
6. To become more quantitatively literate. (This course does satisfy
Kenyon's QR requirement.) 
7. To learn how to work with openended problems. 

Weekly
Homework and Projects: Computer projects and/or reading or writing
assignments or problemsets will be assigned on a weekly basis. Much of
the work will consist of projects started in class and finished outside
of class. When submitting work electronically save your file into your personal
folder at P:\class\math\holdener\math108\yourusername
HOMEWORK POLICY
 Homework is due at the START of class on the assigned due date,
unless I specify otherwise. Late homework will not be accepted.
If you know you will be missing class for some reason (e.g., an
athletic event), turn in your assignment BEFORE you leave. Under
extenuating circumstances extensions may be granted, but this
should be discussed with me well in advance.
 Your homework will be evaluated on neatness, completeness, and
correctness.
 Group work is encouraged, but assignments must be written up
individually unless you are told otherwise. Copied work will receive
no credit.
 You are encouraged to get help from me on anything!


The
Final Project.
The final project will involve independent
study of a topic related to the course material. You are encouraged to
choose a topic of interest to you, and you will be given a great deal
of freedom to tap your own personal strengths. For example, if you like
to program then you may choose to explore a computer model; perhaps you
will elaborate on a model that we covered in class and then write about
it. Or you might choose to write a mathematical paper or construct a webpage
about a topic related to the course. I will mention possible ideas for
the final project throughout the semester, and you should be keeping the
project in mind as we go.
The final project will be worth a total of 25%
of your final grade. The grade on your final project will be based on
the paper and/or program you write as well as your work and performance
in a class poster session/presentation which will be held in lieu of the
final exam (see below).
Deadlines for the final project. Your
grade on the final project will be based, in part, on whether you meet
the following deadlines.
Choice of Topic.......................................................................................Tuesday,
April 10, 9:40AM 
Final paper (or webpage) due.................................................................Thursday,
May 3, 9:40AM 
Poster Session/Presentations.................................................................Tuesday,
May 8, 8:3011:30AM 

Exams.
There will be two midterms in the course; the final project will
replace the final exam.
Exam 1............................................................Tuesday,
Feb. 20 
Exam 2............................................................Thursday,
Apr. 19 

Grades.
Your grade will be based on weekly homework/projects/short papers,
one paper covering population models, two exams, the final project, and
class participation. Each is weighted as follows.


% of Total 
Homework/Projects 

15 
Modeling Paper 

10 
Log. Spiral Paper 

10 
2 Exams 

30 
The Final Project 

25 
Class Participation 

10 

Class
Attendance. Note above that "Class Partipication"
accounts for 10% of your final grade. Obviously, if you are not in class,
then you can not participate in class. If you have more than 2 unexcused
absences, then your (total) grade will drop by half a letter grade (i.e.,
your maximal "Class Participation" grade will be 5%). If you have
more than 4 unexcused absences, then your total grade will drop by a full
letter grade. Tardiness can also effect your "Class Participation"
grade. Come to class and be on time! 
Learning
Disabilities. If you have a disability and therefore a need
for some type of accommodation(s) in order to participate fully in this
class, please feel free to discuss your concerns in private with me, but
you should also consult Ms. Erin Salva (Coordinator of Disability Services;
Office of the Dean for Academic Advising, PBX 5453) as soon as possible.
It is Ms. Salva (in consultation with the L.E.A.R.N. committee) who has
the authority and the expertise to decide on the accommodations that are
appropriate for your disability. Though I am happy to help you in any way
I can, I cannot make any accommodations for learning (or other) disabilities
without proper authorization from Ms. Salva. 