Math essay


The broad topic for this assignment is “Connecting Math to the Real World.” The end goal will

be to produce a formal essay. The project will take place in three stages: Topic Proposal,

Outlining, and Final Paper. This project needs to be done using MLA citation style which means

that ALL stages should be typed double-spaced using 12-point Times New Roman font and 1

inch margins. The finished paper will be uploaded into Blackboard.

To assist you, I have also provided a link to the main page of Purdue OWL in Blackboard as a

resource for your use during each step. This website has information about writing outlines,

writing a good thesis, properly making in-text citations and properly writing a bibliography.

From the main page, just put what you are need to know into their search engine. My suggestion

is you keep the link information for OWL available for future classes.

Stage 1: Planning the Topic (not to be turned in)

Step I: Pick a topic you might be interested in researching.

Thousands of topics exist which could make a good paper. The key to success is to select a

subject that you find interesting. Ideally, picking a topic related to your major or to a favorite

hobby will make the process more enjoyable for you. If you are struggling to think of a suitable

topic, help exists at

Once you pick your topic, your paper should investigate some aspect of how mathematics is used

by or is found in that subject. For example, if your topic is “The Mathematics of Toe Wrestling,”

you may want to write a little bit about several different ways that math can be used or seen in

the sport of toe wrestling, or you might want to pick one specific aspect of the mathematics of

toe wrestling and describe that aspect in careful detail.

Step II: Find Potential Resources

For this step, you will need to identify three potential sources for your paper. This will involve

going to the library, so plan accordingly. You will need to utilize at least 3 sources in your final

paper. They MUST be comprised of the following:

1. A published book which is NOT your text book.

2. A relatively current periodical (magazine, newspaper, or journal) article.

3. A third reliable source which could include any of the following:

a. An additional book or periodical article.

b. A website which is well documented (but not Wikipedia or similar sites)

c. The text book for this class.

Stage 2: Outline (not to be turned in)

General Information:

I am specifically looking for well-organized papers which have strong thesis statements and

good supports. A good outline helps you to produce this result. Because the outline is the basis of

the paper you will be producing, I want to give you some guidelines.

First, please make sure you do not try to start your paper with some variation of “People do not

think they are going to use math in the real world, but they do.” Instead try explaining something

about the topic you will be discussing or finding a way to hook your reader with other

background information. Your outline should give me some idea of what this will be.

Second, your thesis should not contain “This paper will be about …” type statements. Instead

you need to write a statement which is makes a clear and provable claim. If you need help

knowing what that is you can consult the following resource on OWL for more information: While this resource gives many examples,

it is not all inclusive. Thesis statements which provide some information about what your

supports will be are also acceptable. For instance, “Math is used in toe wrestling in the following

ways: topic a, topic b, and topic c.” If you use this format, your supporting paragraphs should be

in the same order as your thesis lists them to avoid reader confusion.

Third, you need to think about the relationship between your thesis and the supports you are

using. To do this well, you will need to have read through your source materials and have an idea

of what you what you want to say in your paper. One way of thinking about supports is that you

should be able to say “My thesis is true, because this support is true”. Then you will need to use

at least one quote from a source to prove your support is true. The quote or quotes from your

source will need to be in the outline.

Hopefully, you have already written this type of paper and understand what I am asking you to

produce. If not, I am happy to have you come talk to me in my office. There are also free writing

tutors available to you in the CUE building to help you. The tutors are also sometimes available

in the Terrell Library. Please see the following website for information about their hours and


Writing your Outline

The following page has an example of an outline. The statements in an outline do not necessarily

need to be full sentences (except for your thesis and the quotes you are going to be using from

your sources.)


I. Introduction: This should provide background information for your reader. A. You can put details in your outline when you want. If you do so, you should never

have an A without a B or a 1 without a 2)

1. Detail 2. Another Detail

B. Thesis Statement: Write out what you think your thesis statement will be here. II. Main Support Idea 1: _____________________________

A. Detail which backs up support one. B. Another detail which backs up support one. C. Another detail which backs up support one.

Make sure you provide at least one quote from a source you will be using to prove

your support one idea is true and make sure it is cited properly.

III. Main Support Idea 2: _____________________________ A. Detail which backs up support two. B. Another detail which backs up support two. C. Another detail which backs up support two.

Make sure you provide at least one quote from a source you will be using to prove

your support two idea is true and make sure it is cited properly.

IV. Main Support Idea 3: __________________________ A. Detail which back up support three. B. Another detail which backs up support three. C. Another detail which backs up support three.

Make sure you provide at least one quote from a source you will be using to prove

your support three idea is true and make sure it is cited properly.

V. Conclusion: Give me an idea of what your conclusion will include. This should be where you wrap up your topic, but also explain why the information in your paper is important.

A. Detail B. Another Detail

Stage 3: Final Paper (100 Points)

General Information

If done well an outline makes writing a final paper much easier. The hard work of thinking about

relationships and organization should be done already. The final stage involves polishing your

paper by turning the statements in your outline into complete sentences and adding transitions

between ideas. In some cases, you might want to flip the order of details to make the flow better.

As you work, remember you will need to produce an essay which is between 3 to 5 pages in

length. While some ideas are best explained using a diagram, table or image, your page count

does NOT include these. If you are going to use one, please label them as appendixes and say

“see Appendix ___” in your document. This will help you keep track of the true length of your

paper. To help define this for you, I prefer your paper would take 4 or 5 sheets of paper to print

the written part of it. If you are only using 3 sheets and it is not all the way full, you have only

produced 2 ½ pages and are not between 3 to 5 pages.

As you create your final product, please remember the target audience for your paper will be one

of your Math 105 classmates and should be written with them in mind. This means if I were to

hand your paper to another student in the class, they would not get confused by complex

calculations or bored with overly simplistic ones.

Remember that in a formal paper you should not use any contractions or abbreviations. I will be

evaluating your grammar, so you should adhere to the rules of good writing. I highly recommend

getting a classmate or friend to read your final work before submitting it.

You will submit your final paper to me as a typed document in Blackboard. The following list is

a checklist of what should be included:

1. A title page

2. 3 to 5 pages of text (this count does not include tables, diagrams or images)

3. Any needed Appendices with tables, diagrams or images

4. A bibliography page

The rubric for the finished paper is in a separate file. Please read it also.

When your paper is done, submit it in Blackboard. There is an assignment drop box in

Blackboard listed as “Writing Project: Final Paper Submission.”

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