Women and Minorities in Mathematics: A Course with Significant Mathematical Content - Spring 2001 Class Highlights

  • Tues, May 1 Review paper 3 mathematics
  • Tues, April 24 Dean presentation concluded, Smith and Farley presentations.
  • Thur, April 26 Dr. Jill Richie and Dr. Sarah talk to us about gender issues in mathematics. Then go to the computer lab to work on the final projects.
  • Thur, April 19 Hrabowski and Dean presentations, and Dr. Jill Richie talks to us a bit about statistics, and Dr. Kirstin Fleming talks to us a bit about gender issues in her life.
  • Tues, April 10 Tapia, Schattschneider and Taylor presentations
  • Thur, April 12 Graham and Gordon presentations
  • Tues April 3 Review of gender/racial issues, what kind of a mathematician each person is/was, and the mathemaics for paper 2
  • Thur April 5 - Meet in 203 WebCT test 2, place final worksheets onto Dr. Sarah's computer, and work on paper 3.
  • Tues March 27 Presentations on Stephens and Stubblefield
  • Tues March 29 Presentations on Taussky-Todd and Wilkins
  • Tues March 20 Presentations on Blackwell, Browne and Hopper.
  • Thur March 22 Presentations on Ladyzhenskaya, Robinson, and Schafer.
  • Tues Mar 6 Finish up Gender and multicultural issues in test performance via Stereotype Threat and Women's Math Performance, by Spencer, Steele and Quinn, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 35, 4-28 (1999), and When White Men Can't Do Math: Necessary and Sufficient Factors in Stereotype Threat, by Aronson, Lustina, Good, Keough, Steele and Brown, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 35, 29-46 (1999). Discuss MAD Statistics, women in math issues. Homework Bring bookstore books to class on Thur, work on paper 2, choose mathematician for paper 3, WebCT test retakes.
  • Thur Mar 8 Finish up women in math issues. Each student picks a chapter to skim through in the class textbooks and summarize for the class:
    Perspectives on Multiculturalism and Gender Equity (Changing the Faces of Mathematics) by Walter G. Secada (Editor),
    Multicultural and Gender Equity in the Mathematics Classroom: The Gift of Diversity (1997 Yearbook) Edited by Janet Trentacosta, and
    Changing the Faces of Mathematics: Perspectives on African Americans Edited by Marilyn Strutchens, Martin L. Johnson, and William F. Tate
  • Tues 2/27 Gender and multicultural issues in test performance. I showed the students Shepard and Metzler's 1971 paper on Mental Rotation of Three-Simensional Objects in February 19 issue of Science and told them that it is known that gender differences exist on MRT tests. After going over the pairs of rotated objects, I discussed how the test is given and gave the students sample MRT test questions from the 1978 Vandenberg and Ruse article on Mental Rotations: A group test of three-dimensional spatial visualizations in Perceptual and Motor Skills, 47, p. 599-604. I asked students to take this MRT test by putting their name and gender on the reverse side, and then gave 1 minute for them to do both questions. I then separately gave them an unlimited amount of time to do both questions. We discussed the results. We discussed the 1990 study (Sex differences in visual-spatial ability: The role of performance factors, Goldstein, Haldane and Mitchell, Memory and Cognition, 1990 , 18 (5) 546-550) showing that ratio scores showed less of a gender difference on the MRT, and that untimed MRT exams also showed less of a gender difference. We then talked about a 1993 study (Performance factors and gender-related differences in spatial ability: Another assessment, Stumpf, Memory and Cognition, 1993, 21 (6) 828-836) analyzing data from 15 different visual-spatial tests. They were able to duplicate the MRT results, but found that increased time / ratios did not reduce gender differences in the other 14 tests. We then discussed what reactions they had to my statement that there are gender differences on this test. Skim parts of How Negative Expectancies and Attitudes Undermine Females' Math Confidence and Performance: A Review of the Literature by Gutbezahl, students read FairTest Examiner articles on Stereotypes Lower Test Scores and SAT-Math Gender Bias: Causes and Consequences, NSF Stereotype Vulnerability: Effects on Test Performance, NYU Stereotype Vulnerability, Claude Steele has Scores to Settle. Homework for Thur Student for Test 1 and work on paper 2.
  • Thur 3/1 Go over the results of the MRT timed and untimed tests -
    On the timed test (2 questions in 1 minute), on a score of 0,1 or 2, 7/14 women received 0 and the other 7/14 received 1. Hence the average was .5. 2/4 men received 0 and the other 2/4 received 2. Hence the average was 1. On the untimed test, 5/14 women received 2, 6/14 received 1 and 3/14 received 0. Hence the average was 1.14 (with a gain in average of .64 -128% gain). 2/4 men received 2 and 2/4 men received 1. Hence the average was 1.5 (with a gain in average of .5 - 50% gain) WebCT test on paper 1, and work on paper 2. HomeworkWork on paper 2, and start thinking about a mathematician for paper3
  • Tues 2/20 Finish up dihedral group ideas. Review Noetherian Ring ideas again, and have groups look at why F={continuous functions mapping the closed interval from 0 to 1 to the real numbers} is a ring. Each group looks at a different ring property and then presents it to the rest of the class. Then Dr. Sarah talks about why this is not a Noetherian ring.Homework Review paper 1 ideas and mathematics, finish up paper 1, work on paper 2.
  • Thur 2/22 Review and discuss paper 1 in terms of comparing and contrasting
    influences that led the people to mathematics
    educational opportunity and support from family/society (with a comparison to readings from Tues 1/9)
    gender/multicultural issues
  • Tues 2/13 Student presentations on Kovalevsky and Woodard. part of presentation on Kovalevsky, part of presentation on Woodard. Dr. Sarah reviews difference between Euler, Lagrange, and Kovalevsky's cases, and differential equations and partial differential equations. Dr. Sarah reviews ideas related to the Jordan curve theorem and the snowflake example. Then she reviews double false position from Banneker's math, reviews the method of using a secant line to approximate a curve, and shows how the double false position equation is really the secant method in disguise.Homework for Thur Continue working on paper 1 (due Tues, with worksheet due next thur), work on worksheets, work on ordering references for paper 2 (prelim list of refs due Fri), and continue to think about Muhammed's magic square problem left over from Thur 2/8.
  • Thur 2/15 Student presentations on Noether and Cox. Dr. Sarah goes over mathematics, and class looks at compositions of rotations and reflections left over from Muhammed. Homework Look at animation of reflection about a verticle axis, animation of rotation by Pi about a point, see Tuesdays hw.
  • Tues 2/6 Student presentations on Muhammed, Fuller and Agnesi. Part of presentation on Agnesi. Dr. Sarah then highlights some of the ideas and mathematics.Homework for Thur Do worksheets and give suggestions for improvement and positive comments. If you haven't already chosen your mathematician for paper 2, make sure you do so before Fri.
  • Thur 2/8 Student presentations on Banneker and Germain. Dr. Sarah goes over ideas and mathematics. Homework for Tues Continue working on paper1, choose mathematician for paper2 and start getting/ordering references, do worksheets and give suggestions for improvement, Related to Muhammed: using my definition of group generated by two elements, try to figure out what the group acting on the x-y plan is that is generated by reflection about the x-axis, and by rotation of 90 degrees. Related to Banneker Figure out what the term is that is used in double false position. Related to Germain Review her mathematics.
  • Tues 1/30 Hypatia concluded. Discuss student and math historian Edith Prentice Mendez' suggestions for improvement of the worksheet (see Thur 1/25). Discuss which suggestions where followed, which were not, and why. Go over Dr. Sarah's final version of the Hypatia worksheet, Microsoft Word 98 version and solutions to the worksheet. Homework Bring a disk with your paper work (paper, presentation, worksheet) on it to lab (can be PC formatted) - make sure that you have this saved elsewhere in case the disk dies.
  • Thur 2/1 Meet in 203. Go over checklists for the paper, (read some examples of good paper intros), presentation (which will be videotaped) and worksheet. Look at paper 2 (extra credit for the first person to find which mathematician was at Appalachian State Univ), and then hand back paper 1 drafts (I skimmed the drafts and gave my impressions and suggestions for improvement, but it is your responsibility to find additional ways to improve the paper.) and work on paper 1.
  • Tues 1/23Hypatia continued. Go over Knorr's case that Hypatia worked on Archimedes, and go over the proof of Archimedes dimension of the circle. Discuss Dr. Sarah's worksheet (first draft) on Hypatia's possible work on Archimedes dimension of the circle. Homework Do worksheet and give suggestions for improvement. Study for WebCT quiz 2, and work on paper1.
  • Thur 1/25Meet in computer lab. WebCT quiz 2 on Hypatia's mathematics and Mentoring poster. Collect Hypatia worksheet (first draft) by Dr. Sarah.
    Math Historian Edith Prentice Mendez' suggestions for improvement of the worksheet
    I think the "translated works" is misleading. To my knowledge, she worked only in Greek, and the addition of exercises is not authenticated. Mary Ellen Waithe in "A History of Women Philosophers", vol 1, came up with that. I think it would be more accurate to say that Hypatia developed commentaries on older works, probably of Ptolemy, Diophantus, and Apollonius. in place of Hypatia >translated works, added exercises"
    I'd give "Textual Studies" a citation and not give much credit to the Agnes Scott site, though the author appears to have checked a number of sources. I only skimmed this, but the stories are written by undergraduates and have very mixed reliability.
    In response to Dr. Sarah's query:
    My understanding is that Wilbur found the sexigesimal computation that he attributes to Hypatia in Ptolemy's book III, and then goes to other sources (such as the medieval Arabic version of Dimension of the Circle) and attributes them to Hypatia after seeing stylistic similarities.
    Dr. Prentice Mendez wrote:
    I think this is accurate--also based on the reputation Hypatia had for her teaching and style, a reputation transmitted by extant letters by her student Synesius.
    Student suggestions for improvement: typos and comments for clarity, more pictures, more space to write, more guided help on the proof, material was over the student's head / too hard
    Student positive comments: (which weren't asked for)
    This worksheet was helpful in allowing me to apply what I learned in class - it gave me a better understanding. pictures were helpful, as was the start of the proof, I liked the worksheet.
    Go over inserting pictures into Word documents, dropping files into Dr. Sarah's computer, and working on web checklist points. Discuss demographics in this class (4 out of 18 male students, 1 out of 18 minority students (hispanic), 13/18 math-ed majors), and compared to national trend demographics in mathematics.
  • Tues 1/16 Hypatia continued. Discuss errors in Osen's Women in Mathematics entry on Hypatia, Hypatia's work on Diophantus' Arithmetica, begin Hypatia's work on Apollonius' Conics, discuss classroom worksheets on Hypatia (Famous Problems and Their Mathematicians by Johnson, p. 41-42, Multicultural Science and Math Connections by Lumpkin, p. 146- 149, Math Equals by Perl, p. 9-26). Homework For WebCT quiz 2 next Thur 25, read poster on Mentoring on the bulletin board between 303b and 305, and start reviewing Hypatia's mathematics. Read Dr. Sarah's bulletin board posting on WebCT about your mathematician, quiz 1 retakes, work on paper 1.
  • Thur 1/18 Assessment
  • Tues 1/9 Entrance survey, fill out an index sheet, Intro to Hypatia - an overview of her life and work by reading the entry on Hypatia from Grinstein's Women of Mathematics. Hypatia's work on Ptolemy's Almagest. Homework - Readings on
    History of Education of Women Failing at Fairness, Through the Back Door by Sadker: The History of Women's Education p. 15-41.
    History of Education of African Americans The Eduction of Blacks in the United States, African Americans and the Pursuit of Education after the Civil War, After the Civil War: Plessy v. Ferguson, Early Civil Rights Struggles: School Integration in Universities, Early Civil Rights Struggles: Brown v. Board of Education, School Integration: Introduction, Integration or Separation: A Strategy for Racial Equality, by Roy L. Brooks - reviewed by Louis Andrews.
  • Thur 1/11 Meet in 203. Intro to course via web pages, WebCT for the first time only, WebCT quiz1 on history of education readings from Tues 1/9 , assignment of mathematician for paper 1, hand out folders with info for paper 1, discussion of readings and searching for women and minority mathematicians on the web. Homework for Tuesday Start working on paper 1. Click here in order to read through the instructions on paper1 and click on the writing checklist link that you should use as a guideline.