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MAMT 544 Creative Problem Solving
Winter 2012

Instructor: Tom Hull

Time: Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:30pm - 7:20pm, starting Monday, January 9, 2012

Location: somewhere in CSP (Center for Sciences and Pharmacy building

In this class we will look at the big, wide subject of mathematical problem solving. We will learn different techniques and strategies of problem solving. We'll also spend a lot of time ... solving various problems.

But come on. There's no getting around the fact that you can't talk about mathematical problem solving without facing some BIG QUESTIONS, like, "How do we know when we've solved a problem?" or "Does problem-solving always require a proof?" or "What is math, anyway?" Learning about problem solving means facing the whole big, bad world of math and trying to figure out what it's all about.

We'll use many different areas of math in this class: geometry, algebra, combinatorics, maybe a little number theory, or some matrices. When you're solving problems, you never know what tools you'll need to use.

However, the emphasis in this class will be teaching-centered. We'll talk a lot about how the techniques and problems we learn could be used in your own classrooms.

So what will we be learning?

  • Strategies for solving math problems.
  • Tactics for approaching problems of certain types.
  • Tools for digging into a problem, once we've started it.
  • Various tricks and ideas for large classes of problems, like finding patterns in sequences of problems. (Example: 1, 6, 15, 28, 45, 66, 91, 120, 153, 190, ...)
  • Playing with and solving puzzles. Rubik's cube, anyone?

Textbook: The Art and Craft of Problem Solving, 2nd edition, by Paul Zeitz, Wiley, 2006, ISBN: 0471789011


Please contact me if you have any questions!

Last updated: 11/11/2011