Tenth Week of Instruction (3/6, 3/8, 3/12)

Monday (3/6)This day was devoted to student presentations. I was successful in getting some new students up. The first had difficulty but with some suggestions which I provided he was able to work out a complete solution and present it clearly to the class. The next presentation was extremely clear and elegant and was a good example of use of an alternative representation. The balance of the class was devoted to work on previous distributed problems

Wednesday (3/8)I began the class by presenting a problem and everyone thought it was a great demonstration. I was asked about the final and I said that there will be lots of problems of various degrees of difficulty and everyone will be able to do something and some people will be able to do a lot and they shouldn't worry about it. Then it was back to the usual pattern. I distributed new problems (3/8), we had a period of orientation and a full group discussion about the problems in the same fashion as last Friday: each student had the chance to speak, indicated which problems they preferred and what they thought was the way to get started and what resources and techniques would be used. They then formed their own groups and worked for the balance of the period. I even allowed students to work alone but all prefer to work in groups. Lots of mathematical vocabulary is used, mostly from number theory and probability and they appear to make lots of progress.

Friday (3/10)No problems are distributed but we go over some outstanding problems. I demonstrate a problem but It still wasn't clear to all the students and I attempted it one more time and this time it appeared it was understood. I then told the students about a problem I had come across on the Putnam contest. We had our full group discussion with everyone participating and choosing a problem. Being another beautiful day and seeing as how it worked so well last time we moved outside again. Again I let students work independently or in groups. A few decide to do the former. Everyone seems to make progress. One group has a very lively dialogue over different ways to approach their problem. Another group was sharing ideas and appeared to be converging on a solution. The other group is also making good progress. One student who has been working alone came over to me to see if his ideas would lead anywhere.