# Writing Projects for Mathematics Courses: Crushed Clowns, Cars, and Coffee to Go

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*Annalisa Crannell; Gavin LaRose; Thomas Ratliff; Elyn Rykken*

MAA Press: An Imprint of the American Mathematical Society

Writing Projects for Mathematics
Courses is a collection of writing projects suitable for a wide
range of undergraduate mathematics courses, from a survey of
mathematics to differential equations. The projects vary in their
level of difficulty and in the mathematics that they require but are
similar in the mode of presentation and use of applications. Students
see these problems as real in a way that textbook problems are not,
even though many of the characters involved (e.g. dime-store
detectives and CEOs) are obviously fictional.

The stories are sometimes fanciful and sometimes
grounded in standard scientific applications, but the mere existence
of the story draws the students in and makes the problem
relevant.

#### Reviews & Endorsements

After reading through the book, I decided to try one of the projects in my Mathematics for Elementary Teachers class … Although the problem was completely fabricated, the students enjoyed the project and, judging by their submissions, learned to apply the necessary mathematics as well. … I am encouraged by the results I saw with just this one project. … Experienced instructors will find that this book is a source of new projects, possibly requiring a new writing style.

-- Susan Palmer Slattery, MAA Reviews

# Table of Contents

## Writing Projects for Mathematics Courses: Crushed Clowns, Cars, and Coffee to Go

- front cover cover11
- copyright page ii3
- Writing Projects for Mathematics Courses iii4
- Contents vii8
- 1 Introduction and Supporting Information 110
- 2 Projects 918
- The Case of the Dough for the Greenhouse 1019
- The Case of the New Leaf 1322
- The Case of the Dropped Baton 1524
- The Case of the Falling Grapefruit 1726
- The Case of the Lead Poisoning 2029
- The Case of Darlene’s Rose 2332
- The Case of the Set-Up Cyclist 2534
- The Case of the Crushed Clown 2736
- A Bit of Caustic Rain 3039
- A Bit More Caustic Rain 3342
- Profitable Production 3645
- The Legality of the Stock Market 3948
- An Oily Mess 4251
- An Illuminating Project 4453
- A Question of Law 4655
- A Little Farming of Sorts 4857
- Defending Freedom, or Something Like That 5160
- A Jump and a Jerk 5463
- Fire Swamps and Rodents and Snakes (Oh, My) 5867
- Coffee to Go 6170
- A Dorm Room’s a Dorm Room, No Matter How Small 6372
- The Broad Side of the Barn 6574
- A Question of Carpeting 6776
- The Great Escape 6978
- I Guess Leonardo DiCaprio Was Booked 7281
- While Visions of Emus Danced in His Head 7584
- A Matter of Utmost Gravity 7887
- The X-Files Makes Me So Angry 8089
- The Company Picnic 8291
- The Restaurant 8493
- The Commute 8695
- The Raise 8897
- The Car 9099
- The Square Meal Deal 92101
- Stuck in Traffic in Chicago 94103

- 3 Sample Solutions 97106
- 4 Additional Sample Checklists and Rubrics 113122
- 5 Index by Course 117126