PBIS 187 – SPRING 2008 General Goals and Objectives

PBIS 187 – SPRING 2008
Section 001: 10:20-11:20, MWF, Swart 102
Section 002, 11:30-1:00, TR, Swart 240
General Goals and Objectives
Problem-Based Inquiry Seminar courses focus on the development of critical thinking
skills and on active learning. Students will be engaged in problem solving and will come
to understand that a “problem” is a situation that is unfamiliar and one for which a
solution is not immediately evident. Being stuck is a natural state of problem solving and
an integral part of improving thinking.
PBIS courses offer the opportunity to develop the ability to distinguish problem solving
and critical thinking from exercises and routine thinking. PBIS courses also help to
identify attitudes and beliefs that are conducive to success in challenging situations (and
those which are not). The intent is to provide a strong intellectual experience that will
enhance the university experience and form a base for lifelong learning.
Specifically students will develop “LESSONS FOR LIFE”
1. Just do it.
2. Make mistakes and fail, but never give up.
3. Keep an open mind.
4. Explore the consequences of new ideas.
5. Seek the essential.
6. Understand the issue.
7. Understand simple things deeply.
8. Break a difficult problem into easier ones.
9. Examine issues from several points of view.
10. Look fro patterns and similarities.
Course Description
“Are there more counting numbers or real numbers”? “Have you ever seen an object
with only one edge and one face”? These are some of the questions we will explore.
Some of the topics may be new to you and the problem solving we do will require
careful thought and a little bit of hard work. Problems we will consider were solved
by the ancient Greeks; some were solved in the last 20 years, or remain unsolved.
Number Contemplation, Infinity, Geometric Gems, Taming Uncertainty, and
Deciding Wisely are characters of the text, The Heart of Mathematics, we will study.
For more information on the text, see www.heartofmath.com and click on “Surfing
the Book”
Instructor: Michael (“Mike”) Skowronski
Office: Swart 233
Phone: 424-7347 (or 424-1333, math department office and leave a message)
Email: skowrons@uwosh.edu (best way to reach me)
Office Hours: If you need other times than those listed, please schedule an
M: 9:10-10:10, 11:30-12:30
T: 9:30-11:20
W: 9:10-10:10, 11:30-12:30
R: 9:30-11:20
F: 9:10-10:10, 11:30-12:30
Text: The Heart of Mathematics: An Invitation to Effective Thinking, by Edward
Burger and Michael Starbird (2nd edition)
Course Topics: We will discuss topics from chapters 1-5, 7, and 8.
Calculator: A scientific calculator will be very helpful.
Assessment: You will be assessed using a points system. I will calculate your total
points divided by the total points for the course.
Grade Scale:
A: 93-100
AB: 87-92
B: 83-86
BC: 76-82
C: 66-75
D: 60-65
Attendance: I have found a strong correlation between attendance and performance. I
realize that reasons such as illness, weather, or family situations may prevent you
from attending class. It is your responsibility to obtain any missed notes and
homework assignments. I try to post announcements on D2L after class telling what
went on in class and what, if anything is due for the next class meeting.
Homework: Homework will be assigned regularly and some will be collected and
graded. The problems assigned will be similar to test and quiz questions. You can
receive help with homework during my office hours or tutors are available free of
charge in Swart 113! Late homework will NOT be accepted!!
Quizzes: There will be some short quizzes given during the semester. Most will be
announced ahead of time. Some quizzes will be unannounced. These usually occur on
the last class meeting for the week (Thursdays and Fridays), especially when
attendance is low. There will be larger quizzes (not quite as large as an exam) given
during the following weeks:
QUIZ 1 - Week of 2/25
QUIZ 2 – Week of 3/17
QUIZ 3 – Week of 4/21
QUIZ 4 – Week of 5/12
My job is to ensure your success in my class. In that endeavor every attempt will be
made to accommodate any special needs and requests. I realize that college can
sometimes be overwhelming. I want o make it as painless as possible. I will treat all
of your fairly and with respect. If any situations arise I want you to feel comfortable
enough to talk with me or email me. If you are upfront and honest with me when such
situations arise we can work out some other arrangement. Please feel free to email me
and I respond as soon as possible. I hope you have a great learning experience and
take some of what you learn with you on whatever career path you choose.
I realize that PBIS courses are taught by the faculty and academic staff of the
mathematics department. You may also think that math means formulas and
procedures. While this is true in most math courses it is only partially true for PBIS
187. Yes we will have some formulas and some procedures; however most of the
course focuses on thinking skills.