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Topic: real applications of elementary math
Replies: 1   Last Post: Jan 5, 2001 1:25 PM

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Ladnor Geissinger

Posts: 69
Registered: 12/4/04
real applications of elementary math
Posted: Jan 5, 2001 12:45 PM
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I teach a course for students who are not planning to major in any
mathematical or physical science, so they probably won't take any more
math, and often they are only in the course because they are required to
take a couple of math courses. The course uses Dan Kalman's book
Elementary Mathematical Models: Order Aplenty and a Glimpse of Chaos,
published by the MAA. It is a terrific book and the best book I have found
so far for these students. They do not need to have passed or placed out
of college algebra; they will see and use in this course all the really
useful stuff they might have covered if they had been dragged through a
coll. alg. course, and they get lots of use of their calculators, often for
things like sequences and difference equations and iteration that might not
appear in coll. alg.

The models in the book are almost all sequences of numbers satisfying a
difference equation - either arithmetic, quadratic, geometric, mixed
(geo.+ari.), or logistic. Along the way there is lots of review of linear,
quadratic, linear regression, exponential, and log functions. And of
course, everything comes out of applications of many kinds that appear in
the book.

Two questions:
1. What specific sources do you recommend for additional applications of
this kind of discrete modeling that would be at a level appropriate to
these students?

2. Any recommendations for other texts that you think are especially
appropriate for math courses for these students - college entry level
courses with essentially no prerequisites?

Ladnor Geissinger
Mathematics Dept, CB 3250 Phillips Hall
Univ of North Carolina, Chapel Hill NC 27599 USA
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