Patterning the World: Connecting Mathematics and Science


Spring 2014 quarter

Taught by

civil engineering
computer science, mathematics

This program repeats the content of Patterning the World offered winter quarter. Students who take the winter quarter program may not sign up for the spring repeat program.

This introductory program integrates mathematics and physics through hands-on, applied, and collaborative work. We particularly invite students who are interested in future studies in introductory science, but are uncertain of their mathematical skills or have had challenging experiences with math in the past and want to create positive ones. We also welcome students who are interested in science as part of their broad liberal arts education. We aim to develop a supportive, hard-working, and playful community of learners who gain practice in some of the ways that scientists make sense of the natural and human-created worlds.

One way that people make sense of their world is by producing patterns . We approach the study of patterns from two complementary points of view: the discovery of patterns and the generation of patterns. We will study mathematics as a language of patterns that unifies these viewpoints. As students discover and generate patterns in lab and workshop, we will develop and identify mathematical structures that describe and help make sense of those patterns. We will use computing to develop and play with mathematical models, generating patterns that we can observe and compare with physical phenomena, enjoy for their beauty, and that can lead to surprising behavior and forms.

We will spend significant time in collaborative science and math labs and workshops, where we will question, experiment, observe, estimate, measure, describe, compute, model, read, interpret, abstract, conjecture, discuss, convince, and most of all, create.

Students will have the opportunity to improve their capacities as quantitatively and scientifically literate citizens, including reading and creating scientific texts, solving theoretical and applied problems, and communicating creatively and effectively. Students will develop and demonstrate their learning through in-class work, homework assignments, papers, and quizzes. Students who successfully complete this program will have covered the equivalent of one quarter of math (college algebra or pre-calculus) and physics (conceptual or algebra-based), and will be prepared for further introductory science programs such as Computer Science Foundations, Introduction to Natural Science, or Models of Motion.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

mathematics, sciences, math and science education.

Academic Website

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day


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Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning: Access to web-based tools required, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

Required Fees

$25 for science kits.

May be offered again in

Spring 2014


Date Revision
August 5th, 2013 New opportunity added.

Registration Information

Credits: 12 (Spring)

Class standing: Freshmen–Senior; 25% of the seats are reserved for freshmen

Maximum enrollment: 64


Course Reference Numbers

Fr (12 credits): 30364
So - Sr (12 credits): 30367

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