What is Mathematics?

Even though we don't have a final exam (we'll use the exam period for the final project research sessions), it is still important to step back and see where we have been, and the purpose of today is to do so as we reflect on what mathematics is.
Discuss in groups:
What was the purpose of the Geometry of the Earth and Universe segment?

Satisfying Course Goals and Objectives

We began the semester with an interdisciplinary approach that combined the fields of geometry, visualization, art, history, philosophy and physics, in the Geometry of the Earth and Universe segment, while also examining local (laws from high school) to global (new laws) issues as we explored how we view the world around us and what it actually looks like. In the process we developed creative inquiry techniques.

More recently we applied the reasoned strategies that mathematics illustrates as a powerful tools that give us surprising strength for analyzing and conquering life's issues in the finance and statistics segments. We have engaged in creative inquiry methods all throughout this class. My hope is that you will take these skills with you and find it helpful to apply them to your own lives in the future.

    Personal Finance

    Interest formulas as they apply to the real world

    Keep America Rolling

    After September 11, 2001, GM created a "Keep America Rolling" program, which offered interest-free financing.

    Loan Payment Formula:

    Monthly Payment =

                        Loan (rate/12)

                        1 - (1 + rate/12)(- years*12)

    Total Interest Over the Life of a Loan: Interest = Monthly Payment * 12 *years - Loan

  1. Use the loan payment and interest formulas to determine how much a customer will save - ie calculate the monthly payment assuming an 6% interest loan of $20,000 compounded monthly for 3 years and then calculate the interest of the life of the loan - this interest is the amount the customer would save in the "Keep America Rolling" program. SHOW WORK

    Consumer Statistics

    To recognize misrepresentations of studies and statistical data in the real world by applying statistical techniques.

    Stock Update

    Recall that the stock market is unpredictable in the short term, but, in the past, over the LONG TERM, stocks that don't go out of business have historically performed better than savings accounts.

    Various Perspectives Using Statistics

    We have seen that the media often misrepresents statistics, and that one must dig deeply to fully understand the (often contradictory) issues involved.


    Some webpages state: Since the late 1940s, the flu vaccine has been the best way to prevent influenza or lessen its severity and that in many years the vaccine prevents over 90% of the influenza/pneumonia deaths.
    2000   "number of deaths"   influenza   "united states"
    to find out that there were
    91,871 deaths from influenza and pneumonia (which sometimes results from influenza) in the US.
    94,800,000 flu/pneumonia cases that year.
    "census 2000"   "total population"   "United States",
    281,421,906 people in the United States.

    One statistic is that the # deaths from the flu / total population of the united states = 91,871 / 281,421,906 = 3.26...E-4 = .000326 = .0326%
    There are also other perspectives to examine:
  2. What is the percentage of cases of flu out of the total population of the United States? SHOW WORK.
  3. What is the risk of dying from the flu (as a percentage) once you already have it? Calculate this by taking the number of deaths, dividing by the number of cases and then turning this into a percentage. SHOW WORK.
  4. What are some risks or problems with the flu vaccine?

    What is Mathematics?

    We have examined different kinds of mathematics, applications to real-life, along with the diverse ways that people succeed.
  • Creative Inquiry Lessons for Life list.
  • Quantitative Literacy reading.
  • Adding up Fuzzy Math: Teaching the Basics.
  • What is Mathematics? reading on ASULearn.