Lynchburg College

Fall 2016

Syllabus for

MATH 350 Experimental Math


Instructor: Dr. Kevin Peterson


Office: Hobbs 314 Office Phone: (434) 544-8374 Email:

Course Webpage: math/

Office hours: Tuesday Thursday 11:30-1:00  or by appointment.


Goals and Objectives


Students will achieve the following objectives:

Attendance and Absences from Tests: Attendance at each scheduled class meeting is considered mandatory. If a student has missed six class meetings, the final course grade will be reduced by one letter grade. Students with seven or more absences will be assigned the grade of "F". Students arriving late for class or leaving early may be counted as absent from that class. If you miss a scheduled test you will receive a grade of zero. At the end of the semester your grade on the comprehensive final exam will be substituted for the zero. There are NO "make-up" tests.

Respectful Conduct: Everyone in the class will be respectful and considerate of others. Please observe the following policies:

Arriving late for class. Late class arrivals are disruptive and inconsiderate;

moreover, they may be regarded as absences. Students who frequently arrive late

may be asked not to return to class.


Talking in class: I encourage all students to participate in class discussions. Please keep all

discussions to the topic at hand. Personal conversations are disruptive and inconsiderate. Students

who frequently disrupt the class may be asked not to return.

Cheating and Plagiarism: Cheating and plagiarism are serious offenses and will not be tolerated. Plagiarism is the act of presenting someone else's work as your own (this someone may be another student, a tutor, a member of the faculty, or an author). Any student caught cheating or committing plagiarism will be subject to disciplinary action. See handbook for details.

Grades: Your course grade will be based on three main components.
1. 6 Individual projects: 50 points each

2. 4 Group projects : 50 points each

3. Final individual project: 100 points


Course Projects:

Students will hand in a detailed typed report for each project. In this course you should not confuse the written project with "showing your work".  Instead your written work should indicate to the reader how well you understand the mathematical concepts you have used in your solution.  A list of calculations without reasoning is not mathematics.  When writing each project your goal will be to communicate your solutions to another person rather than to show you've completed the assignment.

Students will be expected to write clearly and carefully.  There is no required length or word count.  Each project write up should be exactly as long as it needs to be to convey the required ideas.  Hence you will not feel pressure to omit required details or add padding to meet an arbitrary length requirement.

With this in mind each write up must include the following:

  1. Introduction:  A brief description of the central problem. Do not simply recopy the problem.  Rather, describe the problem in enough detail that another student not in the class could understand the main problem and its importance.  Also give a brief description of how you plan on solving the problem.

  2. Results: This section is comprised of 3 sub-sections:

a.       Exploration give a brief description of the explorations you performed and explain how they were used to arrive at your conjecture.  Include several specific examples that will help the reader understand both the problem and your solution.  You must describe how your examples helped you to generate a conjecture. If you used a computer program to generate examples attach a copy of the code and/or output.

b.      Conjecture: After your exploration, you will be ready to make a conjecture about the problem.  The conjecture for each part of your project should be clearly stated and labeled.

c.       Proof: Provide a complete and rigorous mathematical proof.  There should be no gaps in your explanation. Clearly define each mathematical term and variable in the problem.  Other than results from high school algebra, include the full statement of any theorem that was needed to solve the problem.  Results from high school algebra should be labeled HSA.

  1. Conclusion:  This section has 2 sub-sections:

a.       Summary: Include brief summary of the problem, highlighting the parts that you felt were most interesting or surprising.  Compare your "gut-feeling", if you had one, to your actual solution explaining any differences.

b.      Further Work: Finally, state at least 3 new problems that are related to the original problem that you would like to investigate in the future.  These problems should be individually numbered and should be a clearly and carefully (with all the detail) stated in the same fashion as the original problem. The reader should not need to know the original problem to understand the new problems.


Grading:  All projects will be graded using the following rubric:



Limited Proficiency

Some Proficiency        (4-7)

Proficient                 (8-10)

Highly Proficient          (11-13)


Included new problems but were either too few or in appropriate 

Included too few problems that were clearly worded

Included 3 new problems but not completely clear

Included 3 clearly worded new problems


Misunderstood question or did inappropriate exploration

Exploration was included but not clearly defined

Exploration was included but how it was used was not made clear

Exploration included and was clearly explained


Incorrect conjecture included.

Correct conjecture included but explanation was ambiguous

Correct conjecture included but not clearly stated

Correct conjecture included and clearly stated.


Incorrect reasoning provided

Reasoning provided with weak explanation or correlation to exploration.

Reasoning provided appropriately tied to exploration but not clearly or fully explained

Accurate proof included


There are 600 points possible. The grades will be given on the following scale.

A+: 595-600

A :  545-595

A-:  540-545

B+: 535-539
B :  485-534

B-: 480-484

C+: 475-479
C :  425-474

C-: 420-424

D+: 415-419
D :  365-414

D-: 360-364



Withdrawal Policy: If you wish to withdraw from this course, it is your responsibility to do so.

Course web page: Any modifications to the course policies and/or course syllabus will be announced on the course web page (URL is given above).

 ADA Statement: Lynchburg College is committed to providing all students equal access to learning opportunities.  The Disability Services Coordinator (DSC) works with eligible students with disabilities to make arrangements for appropriate and reasonable accommodations.  Students registered with the DSC who receive approved accommodations are required to communicate with each professor to discuss accommodations they wish to implement in individual courses. For information about requesting accommodations, please e-mail Julia Timmons,, phone (434)-544-8687 (undergraduate) or Jessica Guggenheimer,, phone (434)-544-8152 (graduate) and visit

Topics Covered:


Any and ALL fields of mathematics are fair game!  See the course page ...