"Writing is a powerful tool for constructing and altering our knowledge, because with writing we can figure out what we know and rehearse our explanations to ourselves before we present them publicly to others."
~Richard Bullock, The St. Martin's Manual for Writing in the Disciplines
Effective writing skills are a characteristic of the educated person. To accomplish the three goals of General Education at SVSU, Mathematics courses MA120A, MA120B, MA125, MA161, MA132A, and MA132B incorporate writing assignments.
Typical Writing Assignments
A. Writing Solutions to Computational Problems or Word Problems
Rationale: The rationale for this type of writing is two-fold. First of all, applications of mathematics are so widespread in our lives that it is becoming increasingly important to be able to provide clear, organized, and systematic explanations to explain your calculations. Secondly, students learn more mathematics when they are required to explain their work in a logical and understandable way.
B. Writing Solutions to “Explain Why” Problems
Rationale: The rationale for this type of writing is two-fold. First of all, students should be able to explain concepts in a way that demonstrates their understanding of the material. Secondly, students learn more mathematics when they are required to explain their work in a logical and understandable way.
C. Reading, Summarizing, and Evaluating Mathematical Literature (The MA125 Article Summary and Reaction)
Rationale: Math 125 is a survey of various topics in Contemporary Mathematics. It is hoped that at the conclusion of the course, students are able to see that mathematics is more than computations and memorization and that the uses of mathematics are widespread. It is also hoped that this assignment will allow students to be exposed to more applications of mathematics, to practice being able to understand mathematics by reading it, and to practice effectively communicating mathematics.
Math 125 Writing Assignment (14kB) (A. Hlavacek)
Math 125 Article Summary Rubric (13kB) (A. Hlavacek)
D. Research Projects
Rationale: The field of mathematics, like other disciplines, grows through the work and writing of researchers.
Math 471 Research Project (18kB) (A. Hlavacek)
The following are general guidelines. Check with your instructor for course-specific guidelines.
A. When writing solutions to computational problems or word problems:
B. When writing solutions to “Explain Why” problems:
C. When reading, summarizing, and evaluating mathematical literature:
Citation Conventions
In the Math 125 writing assignment, you should include a list of references in an accepted standard format (such as MLA or APA).
The "equals" sign often gets abused. For example, to simplify 2x+1=7, the steps should be:
2x+1=7
2x=6
x=3
If you write 2x+1=7=2x=6=x=6, you are asserting that 7=6!
Some preferred sources of articles are:
Click here (19kB) for an example of a strong MA125 article summary.