Mathematical Modeling is a unique upper-level math class since its goal is to give you the tools necessary to use mathematics
outside of school. The language of mathematical modeling is the language that real-world companies and business managers
understand. If you are trying to convince your boss that she or he should follow a course of action that you suggest, you will
need to justify yourself; basing your reasoning on a mathematically-sound model can provide the basis for a proof that your
method is justified. This project is designed to give you practice in applying modeling techniques.
Groups: You will work in a group of at most three people. It is important that you choose a group of people with whom you
can work well. You will have to meet outside class with your groupmates throughout the semester. If you are having trouble
finding groupmates by early March, discuss this with Prof. Chris.
Timeline: In order to help your time management, I have broken up the project into pieces.
Disregarding this timeline will negatively impact your project grade.
Just as with the other homework assignments, if you are running into trouble or you would like my input on your project, I
suggest coming to see me earlier rather than later.
- Project Statement due Wednesday, March 14: Before class, email Prof. Chris an explanation of the project that you and
your group will attempt. We will set up a time to meet to discuss your proposal.
- Organizational Statement due
Monday, March 26: Before class, email Prof. Chris a page-long description of your plan
of attack for the project statement. This will include the following:
If you are having trouble getting started or would like guidance, meet with me the week before.
- A title for your project, a list of your group members, and a revised project statement.
- The scope of your project---what exactly will you be analyzing? Briefly mention the simplifying assumptions that you are making.
- The mathematics that you expect to use in your project. If applicable, discuss how you will collect data for your project.
- You must also submit an extended bibliography that includes at least two sources that have been published
in print form, such as books or journals. The copy of the source you consult may be on the internet, but they must have appeared
in print form at some point. An extended bibliography includes not only the author, title, and publishing information, but also a
two-to-three sentence explanation of the content of the source. I expect this bibliography to include a vast majority of the
works you will use to write your paper.
- Final Draft due Wednesday, April 18: I expect your project to be in a finished state. You should have completed all
calculations and written up the entire report following the guidelines below. Bring in three printed copies of your draft to class
on April 18 in order to discuss it in depth with your classmates. They will give feedback which will enable you to revise it
to turn it in the following week. All previous students have found this peer review session extremely helpful in preparing the
project for its submission.
- Final Written Project due Wednesday, April 25: You shall hand in a polished final draft in class and via Blackboard on this date.
Content: Your report will be 15-20 pages long. I expect your report to include the following
sections. Your report may include additional sections.
These next three sections will constitute over half of the paper:
- Abstract. A brief summary of the main content of your paper. 75 words at most!
- Introduction. This should provide the reader with the necessary background information about why
your project is an interesting and worthwhile project, and where the project fits into real life. Give a clear project statement.
- Mathematical Model / Assumptions / Methodology. Explain in depth the model you are using to solve the problem. Explicitly state any assumptions that you are making in your research. Discuss how you collected data and worked to make your model as representative of real life as possible.
(See here for a more detailed description, to be passed out in class)
- Results / Analysis of the Model. You will use the
mathematics we have learned in class to discuss what the math says and what conclusions you can draw in terms of the
- Discussion. Every model makes simplifying assumptions. You need to elaborate on yours and explain what is good and what is bad about your model. Is your model precise, accurate, etc? What future research should be undertaken?
- Conclusion. Explain briefly the take-away message of your project, especially the real-life consequences. (One to three paragraphs)
- Bibliography. Cite the sources you use!
Grading: This project represents 35% of your grade this semester—25% for the written report and 10% for the
presentation, described below. Your written report will be graded on content and structure. Yes, even in a math class, you must
use proper grammar and spelling and follow conventions for good paper writing. Your paper must include a proper bibliography. I
recommend that you visit the QC Writing Center to go over drafts before peer review day.
(See here for the grading rubric that I will be using)
Presentation: You will need to organize a presentation highlighting your work over the semester.
You will have twelve to fifteen minutes for your presentation and you should make full use of your time.
In order to do so, you will need to practice giving your presentation out loud at least twice before your presentation day.
You will need to summarize the content and results from your paper in a way that conveys the information well to your classmates.
This presentation will count for 10% of your grade this semester.
You will be graded on clarity, organization, and how well your fellow students understand your presentation.
Presentations will occur on May 9th, May 14th and during the scheduled final exam time.
Attendance is mandatory as you will be grading your fellow classmates. You must be present
each presentation day; if not, you will lose points on your own presentation.
Getting help: Long before the peer review day, it would be good to schedule an appointment with the Queens College Writing Center with whom you can go over your writing so far. They can take a critical
eye to your writing to make sure that your paper is well written and that your message is conveyed clearly. If you have questions
about the mathematics in your paper, you should schedule an appointment with Professor Chris.
SafeAssign: I ask you to submit your final draft through the SafeAssign feature of Blackboard. SafeAssign compares
your paper against content from the internet and multiple large databases of past term papers. This helps detect if sources were
copied directly into your project. If you have concerns about how to correctly use sources in a term paper, feel free to come and
talk with me directly. Upon submission to SafeAssign, you will have the
option to include your paper in Blackboard's Global Reference Database, which will allow Blackboard to keep a copy of your paper
in a database for future comparison. You are not obligated to submit your paper to this database if you are worried about
copyright or other issues.