Scientific Revolutions A First Year Seminar Course Design Helmut Knaust Department of Mathematical Sciences The University of Texas at El Paso Joint Mathematics Meeting Baltimore MD of January 18, 2019 The University Texas at El Paso Overview 1. The University of Texas at El Paso 2. The FYS at UTEP 3. Theme: Scientific Revolutions The University of Texas at El Paso UTEP Student Profile About 25,000 students (21,300 UG and 3,700 GR)
24 years of age (undergraduate average) 80% Hispanic (+4% Mexican) 54% female 84% from El Paso County commuting daily 81% employed 55% first generation university students (Fall 2017) Carnegie R1 institution The University of Texas at El Paso UNIV 1301 Started about 20 years ago Until recently a required course for all incoming freshmen (there is an alternative course UNIV
2350 for transfer students) Now UNIV 1301 is one of seven options (other choices include BUSN, COMM, CS and SCI) About 2500 students take the course in the fall semester About 90 sections, max. 28 students per section The University of Texas at El Paso UNIV 1301 Course Goals Students will: examine the roles and responsibilities crucial for success in college. practice essential academic success skills. build a network of faculty, staff and peers. assess and understand their interests, abilities, and values. become involved in UTEP activities and utilize campus resources. The University of Texas at El Paso UNIV 1301 Course Setup The course consists of two parts: About 50% of the course is devoted to student
survival skills. The rest of the course is dedicated to a theme, picked by the instructor. Some course sections are intended for all majors, some have a restricted intended audience. The instructional team consists of the instructor, a peer leader, a librarian and an academic advisor. The University of Texas at El Paso Theme: Scientific Revolutions Intended audience: STEM majors simultaneously taking a developmental mathematics course The University of Texas at El Paso Theme: Scientific Revolutions Science history as a hook for studying functions via difference equations: The simplicity of nature is not to be measured by that of our conceptions. Infinitely varied in its effects, nature is simple only in its causes, and its economy consists in producing a great number of phenomena,
often very complicated, by means of a small number of general laws. The University of Texas at El Paso Theme: Scientific Revolutions Topics: Galileo linear versus quadratic functions Copernicus/Kepler power functions Malthus/Fibonacci exponential growth, quadratic functions, limits Logistic growth, predator-prey models Mendel/Hardy-Weinberg probability, limits The University of Texas at El Paso Theme: Scientific Revolutions Extensive use of Excel spreadsheets: They are the perfect tool to visualize the solutions of difference equations They allow to cover more advanced subjects by reducing the amount of algebra needed by the students The University of Texas at El Paso
Introductory: Linear Models Converting temperature from C to F The defining ingredients: Initial Data 0 C corresponds to 32 F Difference Equation Every 1 degree increase in C corresponds to a 1.8 degree increase in F The University of Texas at El Paso Temperature Conversion c f 0 32.0 1 33.8
2 35.6 3 37.4 4 39.2 5 41.0 6 42.8 7 44.6 8
46.4 Initial Data f(5) = f(4)+1.8 = 39.2+1.8 = 41.0 The University of Texas at El Paso Example: Exponential Growth n Data on the left are in arithmetic progression (= constant differences between consecutive terms) P(n) 0
5000 1 5500 2 6050 3 6655 4 7321 5 8053 6 8858
7 9744 8 10718 The University of Texas at El Paso Data on the right are in geometric progression (= constant ratios between consecutive terms) Example: Geometric Progression Student Activity x Fill in the missing data in the table on the right such that the y-data are in geometric progression:
y 0.0 1.000 0.5 1.0 2.000 1.5 2.0 4.000 2.5 3.0 The University of Texas at El Paso 8.000 Example: Exponential Growth Fibonacci Numbers n
17711 1.6180340 The University of Texas at El Paso Example: The Golden Ratio Cheating, by assuming that the ratio r of consecutive terms is eventually constant, we can compute r: r = R(n+2)/R(n+1) = R(n+1)/R(n) Using R(n+2)=R(n+1)+R(n), we obtain r = 1 + 1/r, i.e. r2 r 1 =0 Solving for r yields the Golden Ratio as the positive solution: The University of Texas at El Paso Example: Hardy-Weinberg The University of Texas at El Paso References Dan Kalman, Elementary Mathematical Models. Mathematical
Association of America, 1997 UNIV 1301 Master List (Fall 2018) [www.utep.edu/esp/_Files/docs/students/Univ1301MasterList.pdf] Contact Info Helmut Knaust [email protected] The University of Texas at El Paso
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