Math 232: Discrete Mathematics 

Spring 2006

Martha Wallace

Find me in OMH 103
Phone me at x3408
Email me


Dossey, Otto, Spence, Vanden Eyden, Discrete Mathematics, Fourth Edition

TI-89 or similar calculator, Maple, and a willingness to tackle nonroutine problems

What is Discrete Mathematics?

Discrete mathematics is a branch of mathematics that models the world of information processing and social decision-making.  Discrete (non-continuous) mathematics has become increasingly important as more situations are investigated, represented, and solved using computers.  Discrete mathematics explores three central questions in solving problems:
  1. Existence: Is there a solution?
  2. Algorithmic solutions: Can we construct an efficient algorithm to solve the problem?
  3. Optimization: Which solution is best?
Topics we will study include:
  1. graph theory: using vertex-edge diagrams to model and investigate relationships among a finite number of elements;
  2. combinatorics: systematic counting procedures;
  3. recursion: describing and investigating sequential change;
  4. algorithms;
  5. logic and proof
The emphasis will be on modeling and problem solving.  Future teachers will look at the role of discrete mathematics in high school mathematics.

Class Policies:  

Homework Policy:

With few exceptions, you will have two assignments due each day:

A reading covering the material to be discussed during that class period. For each reading assignment, you are to read the section carefully, identifying the main concepts and questions you may have.  Your reading assignment is a very important part of your work in this class, and you should be prepared for the possibility of random card quizzes covering the basics of the reading.  Card quizzes are 2-3 question quizzes administered in the first 3 minutes of class testing the major points of the assigned reading.  They do count toward your grade.

A writing assignment based on the material discussed in the previous class as well as often some preview problems from the next sections and possibly some review problems from previous sections. This assignment should be done in draft form by the next class day to allow for a small amount of explication in class. The final form of each assignment is due on the second class day after it is assigned. You are encouraged to work with other class members to do your homework assignments, and may if you wish, submit one paper for two people. (If you do this, be sure to put the names of both contributors on the paper and take turns writing the final draft so that you both get your writing critiqued.) The writing assignments will be corrected and the grades will count toward your final grade in the course.

No late homework will be accepted, but 3 writing homework scores and 3 card quiz scores will be dropped.

Computer Work:
During the semester, we will have a few computer labs and computer components of many other assignments. You will use the computer algebra system Maple 8 for these assignements. This program is available on the computers in SC 175 and OMH 108.   Some of the tests may have a take-home portion on which you will be expected to use Maple.  

Grading Policy:

How does your work contribute to your  final grade?

What grade will you get in this class?

Components: Points Possible:

Total Points Earned as % of  Possible Minimum Grade You Will Earn
Homework, Labs and Quizzes 100-150 points

90%  A- 
2 Tests 200 points

80%  B- 
Final 150 points

65%  C- 
Total Possible  450-500 points

Hints for Success:

Reading the material carefully before it is covered in class is a big step toward success in any math course.  Successful students typically outline or otherwise summarize the material briefly in their notebook and highlight questions to bring to class.  A great way to become familiar with concepts and techniques is to work each of the examples.  (This means work on paper -- don't just read and nod.)  

Be sure to work lots of problems -- they are fun!

Make sure that you begin the assigned homework as soon as possible after it is assigned and bring a nearly complete homework paper to the following class so that you can get the most out of any homework discussion in class.  Be sure to make connections in your mind between discrete concepts and the other mathematics that you have studied.

Disability Policy:

If you have a documented disability that will impact your work in this class, please contact me to discuss your needs. Additionally, you will need to register with Student Disability Services located at the Academic Support Center in Room 1 of the Old Main Annex. All such discussions will be confidential.