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real applications of elementary math
Posted:
Jan 5, 2001 12:45 PM


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 **************************************************************************** * To post to the list: email mathedcc@mathforum.com * * To unsubscribe, email the message "unsubscribe mathedcc" to majordomo@mathforum.com * * Archives at http://mathforum.com/epigone/mathedcc/ * ****************************************************************************



