Introduction to Mathematical Reasoning – Spring 2015


Welcome to the course web page for the Fall 2015 manifestation of MAT 220: Introduction to Mathematical Reasoning at Northern Arizona University.

Instructor Information

Instructor: Dr. Dana C. Ernst
Office: AMB 176
Office Phone: 928.523.6852
Office Hours: 10:00-11:15AM on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays (or by appointment)

What is This Course All About?

The world is changing faster and faster. An education must prepare a student to ask and explore questions in contexts that do not yet exist. That is, we need individuals capable of tackling problems they have never encountered and to ask questions no one has yet thought of.

The focus of this course is on reasoning and communication through problem solving and written mathematical arguments in order to provide students with more experience and training early in their university studies. The goal is for the students to work on interesting yet challenging multi-step problems that require almost zero background knowledge. The hope is that students will develop (or at least move in the direction of) the habits of mind of a mathematician. The problem solving of the type in this course is a fundamental component of mathematics that receives little focused attention elsewhere in our program. There will be an explicit focus on students asking questions and developing conjectures.

In addition to helping students develop procedural fluency and conceptual understanding, we must prepare them to ask and explore new questions after they leave our classrooms—a skill that we call mathematical inquiry.