Module Catalogue 2016/17

MAS1143 : Problem-Solving Techniques (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2016/17
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Paul Bushby
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Code Title
MAS1041Mathematical Methods A
MAS1141Analytical Geometry and the Foundations of Differential Equations
Co Requisite Comment



To introduce students to a variety of analytical and numerical techniques for solving mathematical problems. The relative strengths and weaknesses of different problem-solving techniques will be discussed, enabling students to decide upon the most appropriate method for a given problem. Some basic concepts in mathematical modelling will also be introduced.

Module Summary

Many physical processes can be represented by a mathematical model. These models can tell us a great deal about the system that they describe, provided that the relevant equations can be solved. This module introduces and develops a wide-range of problem solving techniques. Specific examples include methods for finding the roots of equations, methods for solving initial value problems, and the use of integration to find the volumes and surface areas of simple geometrical objects. Although many of these problems are solved using analytical methods, in cases where this is not possible numerical techniques are required. Several useful numerical algorithms will be introduced and implemented using Maple. We shall also discuss several specific examples that explore the more difficult question of how a mathematical model is constructed.

Outline Of Syllabus

A review of elementary functions, including hyperbolic functions. Numerical methods: Newton-Raphson method, Euler's method, Adams-Bashforth method, Trapezium rule, Simpson's rule, accuracy, implementation using Maple. Applications of integration: arc-lengths, volumes and surfaces of revolution. Suffix notation. Derivatives of vector-valued functions: Cartesian and plane polar coordinates. Mathematical modelling: vector problems (particle dynamics and motion under gravity).

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

Students will:

1. know the properties of elementary mathematical functions, including the hyperbolic functions;
2. gain an appreciation for the ways in which integration can be used to determine the arc-length of a curve as well as the volumes and surface areas of simple three-dimensional solids;
3. know how to differentiate vector-valued functions in Cartesian and plane polar coordinates;
4. understand how mathematics can be used to model certain physical phenomena.

Intended Skill Outcomes

Students will:

1. be able to solve equations involving logarithms, exponentials, trigonometrical functions and hyperbolic functions;
2. be able to use a range of different analytical and numerical techniques to evaluate integrals, locate the roots of equations, and solve first-order initial value problems;
3. be able to implement simple numerical algorithms using Maple
4. be able to use vector-valued functions to solve problems in Newtonian dynamics;
5. be able to determine the most appropriate technique to use in order to solve a given mathematical problem.

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Numeracy : Assessed
    • Information Literacy
      • Use Of Computer Applications : Assessed
  • Self Management
    • Personal Enterprise
      • Problem Solving : Assessed
  • Interaction
    • Communication
      • Written Other : Assessed

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture41:004:00Problem classes
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion113:0013:00Revision for unseen Exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion11:301:30Unseen Exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion42:008:00CBAs
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture261:0026:00Formal lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion45:0020:00Written assignments
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture21:002:00Revision lectures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical31:003:00Maple practicals
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery240:000:00Office Hours in a staff office
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:00Tutorials in the lecture room
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study114:3014:30Studying, practising and gaining understanding of course material
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study41:004:00Assignment review
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures are used for the delivery of theory and explanation of methods, illustrated with examples, and for giving general feedback on marked work. Problem Classes are used to help develop the students’ abilities at applying the theory to solving problems. Tutorials are used to identify and resolve specific queries raised by students and to allow students to receive individual feedback on marked work. Practicals are used both for solution of problems and work requiring extensive computation and for simulation to give insight into the ideas/methods studied. Office hours provide an opportunity for more direct contact between individual students and the lecturer.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination901A80unseen
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prob solv exercises1M10N/A
Computer assessment1M10CBAs
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

A substantial formal unseen examination is appropriate for the assessment of the material in this module. Approximately four written assignments of approximately equal weight (worth approximately 10% in total) and approximately four computer based assessments of approximately equal weight (worth approximately 10% in total) allow the students to develop their problem solving techniques, to practise the methods learnt in the module and to receive feedback; this is thus formative as well as summative assessment.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2016/17 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2017/18 entry will be published here in early-April 2017. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.