SUNY at Stony Brook MAT 118: Mathematical Thinking
Spring 2010
MAT 118: Mathematical Thinking        Fall 2010

Text: Using and Understanding Mathematics, A Quantitative Reasoning Approach by Jeffrey Bennet and William Briggs, 4th Edition (Note that during this term the 5th edition is announced but we are using the 4th). The textbook can be also obtained in digital form through CourseSmart

About this course: There is much more to mathematics than just calculations and solving equations. In this course we will examine several mathematical topics accessible to students with an understanding of high-school mathematics. These will be selected from among the following: voting methods; the mathematics of money; probability; graphs, paths, and networks; tilings and polyhedra; game theory; and other topics.

Reading: The textbook is intended to be read. Read the assigned sections before the lecture. This will greatly increase your comprehension, your performance in examinations and enable you to ask intelligent questions in class.

Homework and Quizzes: You cannot learn mathematics without doing mathematics. Expect to spend between 3 and 6 hours a week solving problems; do all of the assigned problems, as well as additional ones to study. If you do not understand how to do something, get help from your lecturer, your grader, your classmates, or in the Math Learning Center. You are encouraged to study with and discuss problems with others from the class, but write up your own homework by yourself, and make sure you understand how to do the problems.  Identical submissions will receive no credit and will be reported to the Academic Judiciary.

Problem assignments can  be found on the web at

These will be due the following week in recitation. While you may work together with other students on the homework assignments, write up your own solutions in your own words. The goal of the homework is for you to understand the material, not to merely hand in some paper. Late homeworks will not be accepted.

Every homework assignment must be handed in with a header containing: 

  •  Last name, first name.
  •  University ID Number
  •  Date Submitted
  • Assignment number.
Please note that:
  • All of the homework pages MUST be stapled together.
  • Use black or dark blue ink when writing up answers for your homework assignments. Do NOT use RED ink and do NOT use PENCIL.
  • All problem sets must be legible and must use complete sentences, correct grammar, correct spelling, etc. Problem sets which prove too difficult for the grader to read may be marked incorrect or may be returned to the student for rewriting (as the instructor sees fit). Moreover, a complete solution will include the following:
  1.  The statement of the problem
  2.  An answer that is circled or boxed.
  3.  If a problem has multiple parts it should be solved as though each part were a separate problem, following the order in which parts are listed.
  4.  If there is no work shown, there is no credit. In other words, an answer with no justification is not admissible (even if it is the correct answer!)

The grader will grade selected problems and post the grades in Blackboard. All questions regarding grading of a problems must be addressed to the grader.

Examinations: There will be two midterms exams (in class), and a cumulative final exam. The dates are listed below;  Success on the exams will require correct and efficient solutions to the more difficult of the homework problems. Part of your grade will be based on class participation in the lecture (note that asking questions in class counts as class participation). 

Make sure that you can attend the exams at the scheduled times; make-ups will not be given. If one midterm exam is missed because of a serious (documented) illness or emergency, the semester grade will be determined based on the balance of the work in the course.

Clickers: We will be using a ``clicker'' during the lecture. This device allows you to interact with the lecturer in a way similar to ``Ask the Audience'' in Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Clicker answers will count for a portion of your final grade. These are used in several other courses, such as economics, physics, and chemistry. You can use the same clicker for all your courses; Stony Books and the campus bookstore both sell them for about $25. Details about registering your clicker will be on the class web page sometime soon.


What When % of Final Grade
Midterm 1 Tu March 2nd  2:20-3:40pm 20%
Midterm 2 Th April 8th 2:20-3:40pm000
Final Exam May 14th
Homeworks, Participation, etc. 25%

Math Learning Center: The Math Learning Center, in Math S-240A, is there for you to get help with Mathematics. It is staffed most days and some evenings-- your TA holds some of his or her office hours there. A schedule should be posted outside the room and at the Math Undergraduate Office.

MAT 118 Mathematical Thinking
LEC 1 41158 TuTh 2:20pm- 3:40pm Engineering 143 Moira Chas
R01 41159 W 5:20pm- 6:15pm Physics P112 Michael Williams  
R02 41160 Tu 11:20am-12:15pm S B Union 231 Jonathan Hales
R03 41161 Th 12:50pm- 1:45pm Physics P112 Jonathan Hales

Office Hours
TA email Where When
Brandon Williams 2-105 Math Tower Wed 3-4pm
MLC Wed 4-5pm
Jonathan Hales 2-118 Math Tower Wed 3:20-4:20pm
MLC Wed 1-3pm

Lecturer: Prof. Moira Chas     / Office MAT 3-119 - Math Tower / 632-8622 / The best way to contact me is by email,  moira dot

Office hours: Tu 9-11 (3-119, Math Tower); Th 10-11 (P-143 Math Tower)

Schedule: The list of homework assignments and the most current schedule of topics can be found on the class web page. It will change, so check it regularly.

Information for students with disabilities
If you have a physical, psychological, medical, or learning disability that may impact your course work, please contact Disability Support Services at (631) 632-6748 or They will determine with you what accommodations are necessary and appropriate. All information and documentation is confidential.

Students who require assistance during emergency evacuation are encouraged to discuss their needs with their professors and Disability Support Services. For procedures and information go to the following website: