Intro to Chaos and Fractals: What to Expect
This class is quite likely very different than other math classes you
may have taken. Given this, it's important to know what to expect, so
you know what you're getting in to.
- This class is an introductory math class. I will review topics
as necessary and there will be ample opportunity to get help from me
and math tutors outside of class. However, if math is a subject you
really struggle with, this might not be the course for you. I expect
this course to roughly be at a pre-calculus level, although it will be
very different than a pre-calc course. If you were ok at math in high
school, but didn't like it and/or have forgotten most of it, then this
is probably an ok course for you. On the other hand, if you had
significant difficulty with algebra, and feel like it's something
you've never understood, this course might be frustrating for you.
- Falling behind in this course is not a good idea. If you're
confused about something, it's very important that you seek help
sooner rather than later. There are many people around who can offer
help. However, we can't offer assistance if we don't know who needs
it when. You need to take responsibility to seek help if you need
it. On a related note ...
- I do not expect all of the homework assignments to be easy; I don't
expect you to be able to sit down and do them easily the first time.
Don't let yourself get frustrated -- I strongly suggest working with
others and seeking help if you need it.
- You will be writing papers for this course. These papers will be
short response papers and can be entirely non-technical. Last year
many students enjoyed the chance to reflect upon the reading; some
students, however found writing about math and science to be
uncomfortable and/or difficult.
- In many traditional math classes the instructor shows you how to
do a bunch of problems, you go home and obediently practice the stuff
your instructor showed you, and then you take a test. This class will
not be like that -- there will be some traditional-style homework, but
there will be many other exercises too.
- Many of the homework assignments are more like laboratory
exercises. That is, rather than doing a quick problem and getting a
simple answer, I'll ask you to explore some stuff, make observations,
and look for patterns. Frequently these assignments will have
open-ended questions. You will enjoy these assignments more (and do
better on them) if you approach them as you would a good laboratory
exercise in a science class.
- This class is not a systematic review of algebra or trigonometry;
it is not explicitly designed to prepare you for further math
- The exact syllabus for this is quite flexible; feedback is
encouraged, and will help make the class better.
- Some of the worksheets we'll be doing might, at fist, seem a
little high school-ish. Despite this, they're by far the best
materials I've seen on this stuff, and I think they're high school-ish
in format only. The work sheets will lead you though some interesting
exercises, some of which have rather surprising outcomes.
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