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5/10

Martin,

I enjoyed reading your essay. It is apparent how much work you’ve put into writing this project. While at

times your essay does not respond to the prompt and shifts focus to other subjects, this work shows your

eagerness to improve your writing skills. Good job!

Criteria Needs more work Strong

Opening: the paper is introduced appropriately for the assignment

so that the reader is clear about the writer’s intention.

ideas are organized and structured in a manner appropriate for

the assignment

building to help the reader follow the flow of ideas.

variety, clarity, and concision.

interesting.

Development: the ideas and points are clearly and appropriately

developed with sufficient details so as to show depth of thought

and ability to link generalizations and main points with specific

support.

includes the writer’s own analysis and explanation/reasoning.

quoted, paraphrased, summarized, integrated, and

documented.

Closing: the piece of writing is concluded in a way that is

appropriate for the purpose and audience (closing statement)

the introduction and the support provided in the development of

the piece of writing.

reader: shows care in revising, editing, and proofreading so as to

eliminate most problems with standard English usage, syntax,

punctuation, spelling, and grammar. Although the reader might

encounter an occasional error, there should be no pattern of errors;

shows precise and consistent adherence to documentation

conventions when outside sources are used.

Cueva-Garcia 1

Martin Cueva-Garcia

Writing 2, TR 3:00-4:50pm

Using writing in math… doesn’t it sound contradictory? Absolutely, not. Writing is a key

component in mathematics when it comes to learning key topics in this complex field.

Mathematics is a very broad field and has connections with many other academic disciplines.

Since it is already a pretty difficult subject, writing helps to at least ease a bit of it. Specifically, I Commented [MOU1]: You’re making good points but

these points are not connected.

have experienced this in a course I’m taking here at the University of California Santa Barbara,

which is Math 4A: Introduction to Linear Algebra. Writing plays a huge role in this course and it

is a vital component, one which is necessary to do well in the class. Commented [MOU2]: Try to make your thesis more

specific. What writing practices will you talk about in this

paper? Why do mathematicians write like this? Will you

Math 4A, which is an introduction to linear algebra, relies heavily on writing. Writing is

explore writing in a math classroom or writing in the field?

used daily in this class, particularly in lecture slides. Writing is the best way for us students to Commented [MOU3]: Connect these ideas. You mention

lectures in the beginning but you don’t talk about this genre

at all. Perhaps, it will be a good idea to introduce this genre

learn basic concepts in the class. Our professor finds that teaching simple things such as

first and then provide analysis.

If you look at the topic sentence, this paragraph should

definitions and introducing theorems is important later in the course. By introducing these terms, summarize writing strategies that used in math.

Commented [MOU4]: Why not in the beginning?

he is able to show how important the topics we are learning in class rely heavily on definitions

and theorems. For instance, in one of his typical lecture slides our professor will take notes Commented [MOU5]: Revise this sentence

writing things such as “We call a set of vectors (v1,…,vn) linearly independent if whenever a1v1

directions” (Kelz, April 8, 2019). In this example, the professor introduced the definition of

linear independence, which is one of the most significant concepts in math 4A. He introduced

this topic through a definition first and then supplemented this with

Cueva-Garcia 2

examples; “acos(x) + bsin(x) = 0. When x = 0…acos(0) + bsin(0) = 0”(Kelz, April 8, 2019). The

professor introduces definitions because students will be able to use them throughout the whole

course. The more students use and apply these definitions, the easier it is to memorize them and

therefore adds to our understanding of the topic being taught. This is something that our TA, Commented [MOU6]: Incomplete sentence

Garo Sarajian, a graduate student at UCSB, believes is a key component in Math 4A. He stated,

“I use definitions primarily as a writing strategy. I try to be very precise when writing and Commented [MOU7]: That’s a nice integration of the

quote.

presenting them to the class. I need to make sure it’s written in a nice, clear and concise way and

Now it’s always more effective to choose only the best part

of a quote and use it instead of writing the whole one.

giving example helps explain these topics even further” (Sarajian, Interview, 8 May 2019).

Simply stating definitions is not going to help if they aren’t supplemented with examples and

more intuition to support our understanding more. It comes to show that writing is practically

useless if you can’t use it effectively to solve a problem or communicate with a fellow peer. Commented [MOU8]: This paragraph is about definitions

in math. Perhaps, it will be more effective if you write

another paragraph (before this one) which will discuss

In our math class, there is always more than lecture slides when it comes to testing our

general writing strategies in math.

knowledge. Our professor and TA encourage us to use the textbook as well to see its perspective Commented [MOU9]: Transition

Commented [MOU10]: A textbook is a genre and not a

helps more than what is taught in class. It is not the main source that is used to teach the class, writing strategy. The prompt asks to examine writing

strategies/practices.

but it is a very important one to have. It takes what we learn in lecture and explains those topics

even further. The textbook itself acts as a supplementary resource to the lectures, tests, and

quizzes, and is a great alternative to those who feel the examples learned in class weren’t

sufficient enough for them to fully understand. For instance, most of the context included in the

shown in a lesson about the linear independence of matrices; “The columns of a matrix

A are linearly independent if and only if the equation Ax = 0 has only the trivial solution” (Lay,

58). The textbook then goes on to give an example of this definition when it demonstrates how to

Cueva-Garcia 3

solve a matrix and use the definition stated to determine its properties. In the example, it shows

how you can determine if something is linearly independent by row reducing a matrix and then

using the definition to state whether it is indeed linearly independent. Most of the textbook is just

based on definitions, theorems, and examples to help test the knowledge we learn in lecture. The Commented [MOU11]: repetition

textbook is a great way for us to practice our skills and see what we may need more work on.

This shows how writing once again is integrated in a great way into math textbooks for us to

understand these complex concepts in a simpler way. The textbook itself will also show different

aspects on how to approach a certain problem; that is, it’ll show you different methods you can

use when solving a problem. This is the uniqueness of math, that there is no defined way of

obtaining an answer; there is always more than one way to do so. In lecture we may learn the

idea of testing linear independence using say matrices and row reduction, whereas the textbook

may expand more on this and perhaps even give another method such as setting up a system of

equations. A textbook is simply helpful for those who may not capture a great understanding of

the lecture slides, especially because time is limited. What you don’t fully understand in those 50

minutes of lecture, you can always go back and see the textbook’s way of teaching this same

topic. It is simply a great alternative to those who may not understand the professor’s methods of

teaching, or even for those who are overachievers and want to perfect their knowledge. Commented [MOU12]: This paragraph focuses on the

contents of the textbook and its effectiveness. While these

aspects are important, the prompt asks you to focus on

Simply using writing in a math class isn’t effective enough. Writing if used at all in the

writing strategies. How is the textbook organized?

Titles/subtitles? Images? Graphs? Formulas etc.? Why does

course needs to be presented in an efficient way for the audience which us students to understand it use simple language? How long are chapters?

Commented [MOU13]: Incomplete sentence (it is

it in the best possible manner. Writing is such an important tool in math classes that it is used in missing a verb)

many ways both in and out of the classroom. For instance, our TA Garo Sarajian explained how Commented [MOU14]: These are two different ideas.

Will you paragraph focus on the first idea or the second

one? Choose one and cut the other.

writing is not just used in Math 4A, as it is also used in many upper division courses, with even

Cueva-Garcia 4

some essentially being writing classes as they’re solely based on proving theorems. Preparing

students beforehand to use writing is effective once you get into those upper division classes as

they get more complex and you need to explain certain things more effectively. Learning simple

concepts is necessary as linear algebra becomes significant later in your life for careers such as

Algebra” as the authors Elena Marchetti and Luisa Rossi Costa state “We think linear algebra is

an easy tool for working with lines and surfaces…It is crucial for student to learn to use them

with efficacy” (59). They simply state here what our professor and tutor believe in showing how

learning simple things like definitions and theorems is crucial in the long run for the best

understanding of the course. They later go on to say that “the first step is to present the theory of

matrices and vector calculus. The second step is to give the students geometrical applications in

2D and 3D cartesian spaces. The third step is to apply matrices and vector calculus to significant

examples in the artistic and architectural field”(Marchetti, 59). This again demonstrates that

writing is a great resource for us to understand key definitions and concepts. It is necessary to Commented [MOU15]: What kind of writing? Please,

spend more time on discussing writing strategies.

understand definitions and theorems to later apply them to more complex things such as 2D and

3D models as stated here which is part of a later math course taught here at UCSB. When these

concepts are presented effectively through writing it is easy for us students to apply them

effectively.

understanding. As previously stated, things in our linear algebra class have to be presented

carefully. An example of this is when our professor gives out flash cards for us to study terms

right before an exam. He presents them in a simple and easy way in which we will understand it

Cueva-Garcia 5

and apply it. He does this because on an exam he expects us to use that definition to explain what

is asked in the problem. Once again this is shown in the article “A survey of language-oriented

systems for numerical linear algebra” in which it is explained how significant it is to understand

simple terms. The authors Dana L. Ulery and H. M Khalil state “The manipulation of matrices

and solution of linear algebraic equations are the most frequently encountered tasks in scientific

tend to be formulated as sequences of linear systems” (82). This is exactly why it is important to

understand even the simplest of terms if you are planning on pursuing a degree in this field.

Several careers in the math and science fields as stated here are based on simple topic that we are

currently going over in our linear algebra class. This explains why writing is significant in the

course as terms, theorems, etc. have to be presented accurately to get its purpose across. If we

can understand something simple like this then it becomes simpler when these skills are applied

in real life situations. In essence, writing helps to prepare a mathematician to communicate and

Math is universal; it can be taught and learned in various ways. In this field there are

many forms of communicating topics through this already complex subject. In Math 4A this is

shown as writing is used to explain theorems, terms, equations, and formulas. The class sounds

like it’s only based on numbers and equations, but to fully understand the course and become

prepared for future math courses, writing is vital. It is simply needed to communicate in this

course and in this field overall; it helps to jot down ideas and see where you have gone wrong

and need to put extra effort in. Our goal in linear algebra is to demonstrate we know the basic

terminology well enough to explain a concept effectively through our tests, quizzes, and

Cueva-Garcia 6

homework assignments. Through writing we establish our reasoning on how we do things, and it

is also a great way to communicate with our professor, ta, and fellow peers. Using writing in

math is something incredible; it makes communication easier in this complex subject and it is a

Works Cited

1. Elena Marchetti, Luisa Rossi Costa. Reconstruction of Forms by Linear Algebra, Nexus

2. Kelz, Justin. “Injective v. Surjective” Math 4A: Intro to Linear Algebra, 3 May. 2019,

3. Kelz, Justin. “Linear Independence” Math 4A: Intro to Linear Algebra, 8 April. 2019,

4. Lay, David. Linear Algebra and its Applications. Pearson. 24 Dec. 2014.

5. Ulery, D. L., Khalil, H. M.. survey of language-oriented systems for numerical linear

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