Mathematical Computing, Spring 2024
Letters to students of MATH 128

Dear Future Math 128 Students,

Welcome! It’s so exciting that you signed up for this course! I’m sure excited isn’t the only word you would use to describe your feelings right now. Maybe you're nervous or overwhelmed? Scared? That’s okay. It's just the beginning. And I’m here to tell you that you can succeed in this course.

In the beginning it feels like you don't even know where to start. But that’s exactly it. Just start. That’s the hardest part. Once you get anything on there, even just a line, you can start adjusting it and playing around. Giving yourself time to explore without pressure is the key to success in Desmos in my opinion. Most of my projects are based on designs I came about by accident.

Similarly to exploring in Desmos, give yourself time to explore in the makerspace. The machines look scary, but that’s only until you get to know how to use them. Trial and error is the way to go in the makerspace. Professor Hanusa gives you a lot of time to complete a project, but just because something isn’t due for a while doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start exploring. I’m not saying to try to print our your final project, but start with a test. If you’re learning how to use the axi-draw, take a desmos file you already have and try to work with that. If you’re trying out a new technique or a new paper, again, start with a test. This way when you finish your desmos file it won’t be overwhelming to try to get it all right at once.

I would also say to really use your imagination in this class. There is so much you can do with Desmos and the makerspace. Think outside the box! Push yourself!

So remember, take a deep breath and explore. You got this! And remember, Professor Hanusa is always there for questions and support.

Good Luck,
A past Math 128 Student.

Dear future students,

In the beginning of this class, it will be hard because you are so new to the math and machines in the Makerspace. But, I promise that it will become fun once you actually learn everything and begin to implement it. And like all other classes, you will get what you give in. So you do need to put effort into the class and you will receive a high grade for it if you do. If you decide not to pay attention, you will learn nothing. This class requires a lot of time outside of class, depending on your project design and other factors, but it isn't boring--so the hours go by very fast and it doesn't seem like a long time.

I would highly recommend taking notes on the math and how to use the machines/devices. Many of my classmates had trouble because it was very easy to forget all the techniques. I found myself going back to my notes very often, making me realize how useful and essential they were. This class is a combination of math, design and machine-using. And you do not have to be good at all of those things, the professor and Makerspace workers welcome beginners and will teach you to the best of their ability. If you genuinely want to learn, this class will be very fun and you will learn a lot!

MATH 128 was like watching my best friend and sworn enemy become allies. I never realized that math and art could mix so well together. This also taught me how much math is involved in art and vice versa. I am more comfortable with math, and not as hostile towards it. The MakerSpace is now like my second home, and I go there whenever I have free time. Before everything was foreign and scary, I felt uncomfortable walking in. Now, I would like to continue expanding my experiences in that place and to learn how to use all the machines. I feel that the techniques I could learn there will really help my art skills and further my knowledge.

Dear Future Math 128 students,

This class will be unlike any math class you have ever taken. I never thought I would be able to see art in math but after this class my entire view has changed. Math can be used to make beautiful art and you will use the math concepts learned in this class to create your own pieces. Some advice I have for this class is to do all the work given because there truly is no busy work and it will greatly benefit you in your development in the class. Thinking back to the beginning of the semester, there are a few things I wish I knew about this class before taking it.

One thing is to save absolutely every art piece you make throughout the semester. This includes drafts, experimental pieces, and absolutely anything you create. It will be very useful for you at the end of the semester. Another thing is to ask a lot of questions if you didn't understand something. Professor Hanusa has always been very understanding and patient. It is much better to ask and learn then to pay for it later. Even though I never really enjoyed math, I really loved this class and I hope that you will too!

Dear future students,

This is going to be a very fun course (for most!) where you will learn how to apply math in ways you probably never have previously. Something that would be nice to know from the beginning is how self-sufficient this class is. You will work collaboratively with others as well as by yourself, but when you go home and need to apply concepts yourself, you definitely need to set time aside and mess with equations. For me, I got a little lucky because of prior math experience, but for those with little math experience or need a larger refresher when it comes to graphs, definitely expect to put time aside to practice what you learn, so when it comes time to do projects it’s a lot simpler and less frustrating. This gives you the opportunity to grow mathematically, as well as creatively. The more you know and can apply mathematically, sometimes, the more creative freedom you have and ease of use when using Desmos.

I would explain this class like this: A fun course where you’ll expand mathematically and creatively, and definitely learn how to manage your time well when it comes to commitments outside of class, such as using the makerspace. My advice is to practice, practice, practice. Practicing with graphs and not being afraid to use equations not discussed in class will naturally increase your motivation and enthusiasm in this course. Once you have practicing down, definitely make real time to go visit the makerspace and mess with everything in there, that space is your tool that’s free for you to use. I definitely struggled at times, but making time and really putting time into my work alleviated that struggle. Be prepared for a little challenge, and most importantly, to challenge yourself. Good luck, have fun!

When I think back to the beginning of the semester the thing that would have been nice to know is that your failures are as important as your successes. Through this class, you may sometimes set out to create a certain shape or image, but the things you input in the function might give you a unique shape or give you a gateway to a new concept for your piece. To the future student don't get too caught up on functions you see because rather than just having one right answer as you normally would any "mistake" made can be seen as an opportunity to create something unique and new. Also if you do happen to understand certain things well don't be afraid to help out others in the class it can sometimes be rewarding when helping others see how you approached your work.

When in this class another thing you should try to do is try to have a consistent partner or friend to work with. This is because sometimes it can be hard to reach out to someone especially during a pandemic and many people could be working or just have classes later on in the day. It would also be hard to keep track of who already has a partner and who doesn't so keep that in mind. Overall don't stress out in this class don't be afraid to ask questions because it is way better than just staying confused. As well as don't forget to have fun and enjoy yourself in this class.

Dear incoming Students of MATH 128,

To start off, I want to say that I really enjoyed this class. Although math isn’t really my favorite subject, since it was connected with art, it gained my interest very easily. The class will be really easy for you if you have general knowledge of algebra, trig or precalc. Even if you don’t, the professor explains things very well. If you have any questions, then please don’t hesitate to ask any question. When I first joined this class, I didn’t have any idea as to what we will be learning… I chose this class because of credit, but I’m glad I got to experience it. I never knew it was possible to create art through math. 60% of the time, it felt like I was taking a stress relieving class. I enjoy making art. Even though I never did it digitally, using Desmos was so much fun. Even when I made an accident, I saved it, because it looked so cool! I already know you all will enjoy this class as much as I did. Just make sure to stay on track and focus during lecture so that you don’t get lost. Lastly, please do take office hour appointments to clear up your confusion about a topic, or if you’re struggling with something. Good luck everyone, have fun!

Hello, I'm a student from Math 128 and I will be giving suggestions for this class and explaining my past experiences. First off, I know the class might seem a little difficult at first since many of you haven't ever used math to create art but I promise after a while you will enjoy it. When I first started the class I was a little confused because of the many equations and formulas we had to use but after you actually try to explore those equations and graphs, I promise it will get easier. Something that I would've liked to know at the beginning is how important your participation is for class and on the discussion board as well. It's a part of your grade and using will actually be very beneficial since you can ask as many equations and help others out.

Some detailed suggestions I will provide is first getting highly familiar with Desmos. Desmos is very crucial for this class. Everything you will do and present will revolve around it but you also have to get familiar and comfortable with the formulas and equations. Something I did was play around a lot on Desmos and with the formulas because you get to physically see what changing the numbers or variables in an equation does to the design. Another thing is attending office hours, Professor Hanusa is very understanding and helpful so attending and participating in office hours will really help. And finally, reaching out to other classmates. I know at first it will be hard and trust me I know because it took me sometime to actually reach out but everyone is in the same boat as you so don't worry about it. After I reached out to someone, I was actually able to receive and provide help which was very imperative. I hope these suggestions have helped out and I really think you guys will enjoy Math 128 with Professor Hanusa! Good luck guys!

At the beginning of the semester it would've been nice to know how much thought it takes to create artworks that you desire. I haven't taken an art class in years and I forgot how much the thought process for art creation matters and how much it affects the work you end up creating, what you put in is what you get out. This class is a class that more-so focuses on the math aspect than the art, primarily due to the fact that you're creating the art through using math. You get tested on your mastery of certain standards of math and the skills you develop from learning the standards are used in your projects. The advice I have for a student starting in Math 128 is to just have as much fun as you can and don't stress, it isn't as hard as you think it'll be. The class is honestly a really fun one and you get to play around with math to create any kind of piece of art that you set your mind to.

To an incoming student, I would explain the class as detail-oriented. You have to understand what is being taught to make sure you can make art on Desmos. You also need to understand the math to complete the standards. Make sure to keep up and ask questions because things can get confusing fast especially if math isn't your best subject. I would also tell them to really play around with equations in Desmos because usually the mistakes you make there end up being your best work of art. One thing I would have liked to know at the beginning of the semester is that there was going to be a lot of partner/group work involved in this class. I didn't mind it that much but if you are not used to reaching out to people and asking them to work on a partner-oriented assignment, you might want to prepare yourself for that.