[Edu-sig] discrete math vs digital math (does it matter?)

A. Jorge Garcia calcpage at aol.com
Sun Feb 27 22:56:30 CET 2011

>> During the first semester I focused mainly on programming in Python 
and using it for sequences, series,
>> combinatorics, Boolean stuff, different base systems, and so on.  I 
of course used the Litvins' Digital Age
>> for a lot of this.  Second semester I plan to use Sage more as the 
primary tool and will get into trig and
>> conics and other typical mathy things.

Hey Michel, its good to know that I'm not the only one down here in the 
trenches trying to do some Discrete Math in HS using a computational 

I have these kids for 2 semesters.  The first semester is called 
Computer Math which, believe it or not, is a course I introduced in the 
80s using IBM BASICA that covered similar material as you did with the 
Litvin text.  I used the Litvin text in Computer Math with SAGE all 
that first semester this year.  However, my crew was not as adept as 
yours sounds!  So, we only covered the first 6 chapters.  Now, I have 
the cream of 2 sections of Computer Math in the second semester (we 
call it Advanced Computer Math).  I will start to jump around a bit to 
cover some of the more interesting topics in the time remaining.  The 
kids love using SAGE too.

Funny you should be using preCalc texts in your class as well.  The 
texts titled "Analysis" probably are preCalc texts too.  In HS 
"Analysis" is usually short for "Analysis of Functions" or "Functional 
Analysis" which is really the meat of preCalc.  I don't think the 
authors of those books were talking about Real Analysis.

Also, we just finished a unit of conics in my preCalc class.  We did 
everything the traditional way as well as using Graphing Calculators.  
Then, when I went over a quiz they just took, I thought I'd show them 
how its done in SAGE.  These students almost fell out of their chairs!

A. Jorge Garcia
Applied Math and CompSci

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