Janet Preston at Unity College uses the rubric attached below to grade short writing assignments; the rubric is based on one she saw at mathforum.org. Janet provides the following context (lightly edited): At Unity College, we have adopted a college-wide goal to incorporate writing across the curriculum. To bring a writing component into our classes, my math colleagues and I use writing assignments like the weekly problems provided at mathforum.org. The way it works is this: Every two or three weeks throughout the semester, I choose a problem or project, relevant to our topic at hand, that I think will

Read more →# Posts Tagged *Writing*

This list of common comments on mathematics papers, with comment codes, can be used to avoid rewriting the same comment on several papers. The codes are useful for de-emphasizing less important comments so students will focus on more important written-out comments. Tex and doc files are included both so the list can be modified and to enable copy/paste of comments onto student papers. This list is intended for short papers; a list for longer papers would need more comments focused on structure. The “grader” versions are designed to help educators quickly skim to find the code for a desired comment.

Read more →This revision checklist was written for MIT’s Project Laboratory in Mathematics in the Spring of 2014, to provide students with strategies for revising their research paper drafts. By Susan Ruff and David Jerison.

Read more →By Susan Ruff Johann’s presentation on partitions was carefully crafted. The math was completely correct, the board work was neat and legible, the delivery was professional, and the timing was perfect. But the talk was so dry and formal that the other students quickly reverted to the blank look that suggests they have more interesting things to think about. In contrast, Karen’s presentation on generating functions gained and held the attention of many of the students. She successfully conveyed the beauty and power of generating functions . . . to the front half of the class. The rest couldn’t hear

Read more →To help students learn to write proofs, Russell E. Goodman of Central College has developed Proof-Scrambling Activities. Students must correctly order the scrambled sentences of a proof. These activities help students identify when a proof is logically correct, to recognize how authors use words like “therefore,” “next,” etc., to indicate the direction of the logic, and to gain experience reading and comprehending proofs. Enclosed are two activities, a quiz, and notes for educators.

Read more →This 18-page resource for math instructors addresses questions of how to teach communication in an undergraduate math seminar. Most of the document focuses on questions of grading and providing feedback to students on their writing. It was written for a workshop with M.I.T. math instructors preparing to teach communication-intensive undergraduate math seminars.

Read more →The article “Maximum Overhang” by Mike Paterson, Yuval Peres, Mikkel Thorup, Peter Winkler, and Uri Zwick won the 2011 David P. Robbins Prize, an MAA Writing Award. This pdf of the article is annotated to point out to students how to write a mathematics paper. The annotations address the structure and content of an introduction, how to integrate equations, text, and figures, how to guide the audience through the content, how to cite, etc. The article addresses the question of how far a stack of blocks can extend from the edge of a table. It was published in the American

Read more →This one-page reading assignment presents questions for students to consider as they read a draft of one of their instructor’s published papers. This assignment precedes a workshop on how to write a paper, in which the students discuss the draft and a revised version of the paper as well as writing process. From Pedro Reis’ Undergraduate Seminar in Physical Applied Mathematics at MIT.

Read more →This brief handout provides some sound advice for the process of writing a term paper. From Olivier Bernardi’s Undergraduate Seminar in Discrete Mathematics.

Read more →Two proofs of the fact that 1+2+ … + n = n(n+1)/2. One proof uses induction; the other organizes the terms of twice the sum so each of n pairs sums to n+1. These proofs are used to start a class discussion about elegance.

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