“Mathematics is not a careful march down a well-cleared highway, but a journey into a strange wilderness, where the explorers often get lost. Rigour
should be a signal to the historian that the maps have been made, and the real explorers have gone elsewhere.”
– W.S. Anglin, "Mathematics and History", Mathematical Intelligencer, v. 4, no. 4.
PACKER COLLEGIATE INSTITUTE | 2008-2009
Mr. Shah | firstname.lastname@example.org | math office F410
This is my first time teaching this course, and it’s different than all the other math classes at Packer.
We only have a few students and the material gets pretty difficult. At the same time, in a very real
sense, you’ve proven your mathematical mettle. You’ve taken the hardest math classes and you’re now
at a stage where we can start focusing less on formulaic problems and more on challenging that brain.
I want this course to do that – set your brain on fire. And by the subject’s very nature, you’re going to
be forced to think in ways you might not have before. Conceptually, geometrically, intuitively. And
since we have such few students, I want us to be a merry band of mathematical explorers1 – not individuals
competing for the highest grade. My hope is that when you leave this class, you’re going to remember
a room of real intellectual inquiry and collaboration.
This course will not have frequent tests. Although tests are useful – and in college classes you definitely
will be confronted with them, and they will be worth a huge part of your grade – with a class this size, I
would like to experiment with only giving three tests (one at the end of quarters 1, 2 and 3). And they will
asses you only on basic concepts and not worth a huge fraction of your grade. This course is going to be
designed with the premise that you are intellectually responsible for your own learning – and that when
you are having difficulties with a concept, you will be proactive in overcoming those diffi