Math 140 - Modeling with Calculus  - Fall 2012

Advice for working on your project

  1. Begin today.  Read the entire project to see what it involves.  Don’t worry too much about details at first, just get the big picture, particularly about what is required.  Start to think about your preferences for teammates, and communicate those preferences to your instructor.  Do it now!

  2. Begin to acquaint yourself with the issues involved on the very day the project is assigned.  Look into at least one of the issues in some detail.

  3. To do a good job (and get a good grade), you will need all the time you have been given (almost two weeks!).  Do not fool yourself into thinking you can turn out an acceptable job in one or two nights’ work.  Many students have failed to heed this warning, but know that That Way Lies Sorrow.

  4. Immediately after groups are assigned, meet to discuss the work you’ve already started.  Make sure your group members share a clear understanding about what’s expected – list details, not just vague ideas like “it’s got to be really good.”

  5. You may wish to divide up the work, if that’s possible, but make sure every group member understands everything in the final report.  It’s your grade we’re talking about here, so make sure you understand what’s being turned in with your name on it.

  6. If you do divide the work, you must work as a team to assemble the parts.  Otherwise your report will seem like a Frankenstein’s monster of ill-fitting parts, rather than the single, beautiful example of clarity that you want.

  7. By starting early and thinking about your project a little each day, insight into the problem has some time to ripen.  Ideas will come to you at surprising times, but only if you start early.

  8. Writing:  This is new for many students – formal writing on a math or science topic.  Do not fall into the trap of assuming it will come without effort.  There are two main tips to help you with this challenge:
  9. Confused about something?  Ask your instructor.  Starting early allows you more time to get helpful advice!  We are happy to guide you, but we can’t be much help if you see us for the first time the day the project is due.

  10. These projects are often posed as professional reports to help you adopt a suitable attitude toward their importance.  Take as much pride in your report as you would if you were writing it for an employer on whom you wish to make a favorable impression.

Last Modified Sept. 19, 2012.
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