Final Exam Research Presentations
If I have seen further it is only by standing on ye shoulders of
[Isaac Newton in a Letter to Robert Hooke, dated
5 February 1675]
Goals and Objectives:
To complete the theme of what mathematics is,
you will choose a topic and see how mathematics relates to it.
We have spent time in the statistics segment showing diverse perspectives
as well as critically analyzing information. In this light it might seem
difficult to make progress in understanding
a topic or issue. However,
to flip this perspective, we will conclude the semester
by examining some of the
amazing mathematical breakthoughs that have already occurred and how they
have helped humanity.
You may work with at most one other person.
You will create an attractive and professional
two-page or three-page typed product (plus an annotated bibliography)
that explores the interesting and important mathematical connections.
Be sure that you research and include:
Here are two sample research products
Mathematics and Film by Kaitlyn Colucci (I especially liked the visual presentation and the deep connections to geometry. The connections to statistics and probability could have been even more in depth and replaced some of the timeframe elements that are not as mathematical)
Mathematics and Cancer by Maggie Hooks and Syd Shadrick (I especially liked how much research they brought in and how they organized it, including identifying which segments it connected to. The 2009 research should have also said it connected to statistics)
These were created in Microsoft Word and Google Slides, respectively.
You will communicate your expertise in a research presentation session
on the "final exam" day.
Your 2-page or 3-page product and your annotated bibliography will be taped up to the
wall. We will divide up the class into two research sessions. During your session, you must stand by your product and annotated bibliography (which will be taped to the wall) to to present your project to classmates and answer their
questions (and your answers must demonstrate expertise of your topic).
The presentation component typically involves a group of 1 or 2 students
at a time listening to and looking at your project so they can take notes for peer review.
During the other session, you will talk to others about their research and fill out
peer review. If you work with someone else, you will each be in different research sessions.
I am happy to help in office hours and you can also make an appointment through the library
Research Advisory Program (RAP)
Your grade will be based upon the criteria above as well as the
depth, clarity, and creativity of the product, annotations,
explanations, mathematics, peer
review and self-evaluations. Here is a
As per the syllabus, participation in the research presentations
is mandatory to pass the class.
References and Topic Suggestions
Your research may take the form of topics in the book that we did not cover,
further examination of something we did, or something
else related to mathematics.
I encourage you to be creative and find a topic that relates to
mathematics that you are interested in.
I am happy to give you some
suggestions of topics related to your personal interests.
The library database CQ Researcher presents a chronology for select topics and
questions. Library databases such as Jstor or
Academic Search Premier
can also be helpful for mathematical searches.
Catalog searches on a topic or the history of a field,
or books from the library or my office
can provide a wealth of information.
Also take a look at:
Websites such as the
MacTutor History of
Mathematics archive (O'Connor and Robertson, 2005)
extensive collection of articles on particular people and topics.
Earliest Known Uses of
Some of the Words of Mathematics (Miller, J, 2008)
can provide history on the development as well as the first published
appearance of terms. Wikipedia's history pages and Google scholar
can also be useful.
This project connects in a variety of ways to the
four general education goals for all students at ASU:
Thinking Critically & Creatively [research and creative product]
Communicating Effectively [writing, speaking and reflecting]
Making Local to Global Connections [how mathematics applies in many
other settings, multiple perspectives]
Understanding Responsibilities of Community Membership
[citations, peer review,
actively listening to each others perspectives and presentations...]
You could focus your project on a mathematical concept, a real-life concept with mathematical connections,
a person, place, or more. There are many possibilities and I am happy to help
you find a topic that you are interested in and also has connections to mathematicians and mathematics.
Here are a variety of topics to give you an idea of some diverse possibilities.
technical applications: cancer, film, roller coasters, sports,
your future career, real-world problems being solved by mathematicians...
mathematical/scientific object: black holes, pi, golden mean
person: David Blackwell's mathematical career and collaborations
place: Egypt, the universe
time period: World War II Mathematics
controversy in mathematics
many more possibilities---hopefully you will choose something interesting/useful/important to you as you select a topic
that has enough scientific/mathematical connections and mathematicians. I can help you broaden, narrow, or refocus a topic.