© | Dror Bar-Natan: Classes: 2015-16: Math 475 - Problem Solving Seminar: | (1) |
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**URL:** http://drorbn.net/16-475 or http://www.math.toronto.edu/~drorbn/classes/16-475-ProblemSolving/.

**Agenda.** Solve! Solve! Write!

**Instructor.** Dror Bar-Natan, drorbn@math.toronto.edu
(for administrative matters only; math on email is
slow and prone to misunderstandings, so I generally
avoid it). Office: Bahen 6178, 416-946-5438. Office hours: here.

**Office hours.**

**Teaching Assistant.** Ian Greig, ian.greig@mail.utoronto.ca.

**Classes.** Tuesdays 12-2 and Thursdays 12-1 at MP 137.

**Textbook.** Loren C. Larson's *Problem Solving Through Problems*, Springer
(1983), ISBN 978-0387961712.

**Course Description.** We'll get more competent at solving math
problems and writing their solutions by solving many math problems and
writing their solutions. We will center the class around a half-hour
(or so) quiz that will be given at the start of every Thursday class
(usually). The Tuesday classes will usually introduce the material for
the quiz, and the rest of each Thursday class will usually be devoted
to analyzing the quiz and giving further examples. There will be a
relatively "light" final exam at the end of the class.

**Study Groups.** Most of the quizzes will be questions from
the relevant chapters of the book or minor variations thereof. I strongly
encourage you to form study groups and spend a few hours every week on
solving these problems. This is what may be the real heart of the course -
everything else are just the means to encourage this to happen.

**The Final Grade.** I will compute a final numerical score
using weights as follows. First, the score for each individual assignment
will be renormalized via a power-law transform (a raw score $0\leq r\leq 100$
goes to a renormalized score $s=100(r/100)^\gamma$, for some $\gamma>0$)
so that the median score on that assignment will be 75. Then I will average as
follows:

- Quizzes: 60%, though the worst 3 quizzes for each student will not be counted.
- Final Exam: 40%.

The reason for dropping the worst 3 quiz marks is to allow each student to miss 3 quizzes for whatever reasons, medical, family, personal, anything, with no penalty. Except in extremely unusual circumstances, no other accommodations will be made for students missing quizzes.

**Class Photo.** To help us learn each other's names, I will take
a class photo on Tuesday of the third week of classes. I will post
the picture on the class' web site and you will be *required*
to identify yourself in the picture. With your individual consent, I will
also post your names on the picture page.

Finally, here's our entry at the official UofT Calendar:

MAT475H1 Problem Solving Seminar[TBA]This course addresses the question: How do you attack a problem the likes of which you have never seen before? Students will apply Polya's principles of mathematical problem solving, draw upon their previous mathematical knowledge, and explore the creative side of mathematics in solving a variety of interesting problems and explaining those solutions to others.

Prerequisite: MAT224H1/MAT247H1, MAT235Y1/MAT237Y1/MAT257Y1, and at least 1.0 FCE at the 300+ level in APM/MAT

Distribution Requirement Status: This is a Science course

Breadth Requirement: The Physical and Mathematical Universes (5)

"师傅领进门,修行靠个人!"

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