Math 3280 Differential Equations and Linear Algebra Syllabus, Spring 2014

This page will be updated throughout the semester.

Worksheets     Homework     Labs     Resources


Dr. Marshall Hampton

Office: 172 SCC

Email: mhampton at (preferred contact method)

Telephone: 726-6329

Office hours: 1-2:15, M W Th F, or by appointment.

Class homepage: (this page)

Lecture Times:
007: 12:00 P.M. - 12:50 P.M., M,W,Th,F (01/21/2014 - 05/09/2014), EduE 50.

Lab Times:
008: 12:00 P.M. - 12:50 P.M., Tu (01/21/2014 - 05/09/2014), MonH 209.

Lab TA:
Diwash Shrestha. Office hours Tuesday: 11 am - 12 pm; Thursday: 11 am - 12 pm; 2 pm - 3 pm, SCC 115.

Math 1297 (Calculus II) or equivalent.

Student Conduct Code:
see the full description at

Differential Equations and Linear Algebra, 2nd or 3rd Edition, Edwards and Penney, Prentice-Hall, is our primary textbook. It does not matter which edition of the text you have.

This course will build on your knowledge of calculus, extending it to differential equations. In addition to their intrinsic mathematical interest, differential equations are applied in a wide variety of fields. In order to understand systems of linear differential equations, we will also learn some basic linear algebra. We will try to cover some sections from every chapter of the book, although more attention will be given to chapters 1 through 7. These will be covered at a pace of roughly one chapter per week.

There will be two midterms (tentatively: February 28th and March 28th) and a final exam. A calculator and sheet of notes is allowed on each exam. For the final you can use two pages of notes. The final exam will be held in EduE 50 from 2 to 4 pm, Monday, May 12th.

Practice exams:
Practice tests for the midterms and final will be posted here 1 week before the relevant exam.

Practice Midterm 1 Practice Midterm 1 Solutions
Practice Midterm 2 Practice Midterm 2 Solutions
Practice Final Practice Final Solutions

Calculator Policy:
Calculators are allowed during exams (note: an internet-capable device is not considered a calculator). However, you are expected to show the steps that justify your answers, and to give exact answers whenever possible. This also applies to homework unless the question specifically instructs you to use a computer or calculator. On a test, any step on which you use a calculator must be clearly indicated (just write "CALCULATOR" or "CALC").

Grades will be based on your understanding of the material as demonstrated by class participation (mainly worksheets), office hours, homework, labs, and exams. The homework assignments will be weighted equally, with the lowest score dropped. The lowest lab score will also be dropped. The lowest three worksheet scores will be dropped. The approximate weighting is homework is 20%, each midterm 15%, labs 10%, worksheets 15%, and the final exam is 25%. Note that I do not use traditional grading percentages, although generally a score of around 90% of the total is sufficent for an A.

Worksheets from class will be posted here.

W 0 Some calculus review.
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Late homework is not accepted without a prior arrangement. Your answers should include intermediate steps - it is not acceptable to only write down an answer.

Assignment 1 (due Friday, January 24th).

Assignment 2 (due Wednesday, February 5th).

Assignment 3 (due Thursday, February 13th).

Assignment 4 (due Friday, February 21st).

Assignment 5 (due Friday, March 7th).

Assignment 6 (due Friday, March 14th).

Assignment 7 (due Thursday, March 27th).

Assignment 8 (due Friday, April 4th).

Assignment 9 (due Friday, April 11th).

Assignment 10 (due Friday, April 18th).

Assignment 11 (due Friday, April 25th).

Assignment 12 (due Friday, May 2nd).

Assignment 13 (due Friday, May 9th).


We will use the computer algebra system Sage for our labs. Sage can be accessed through a browser at or or Server 3.

Sage can also be used on a "cloud" version:

It may be helpful to read this introduction, written by professor Gregory Bard of UW Stout.

Lab 1: Introduction to Sage. Sage servers:
Server 3.

Lab 2: Linear modelling - Newton's Law of Cooling. Sage servers:
Server 3.

Lab 3: Numerical methods.
Server 3.

Lab 4: Air resistance. Due March 11th.
Server 3.

Lab 5: Matrices in Sage. Due March 25th.
Server 3.

Lab 6: Curve fitting, due April 8th.
Server 3.

Lab 7: Resonance, due April 22nd.
Server 3.

Lab 8: Space, the final frontier. Due April 29th
Server 3.

Lab 9: Optional lab on stochastic ODEs. Due May 9th, hand in to M. Hampton.
Server 3.

Other resources:

Interactive introduction to Python. This might be easier to use than the CodeAcademy site.
MIT ODE lectures online. This course is somewhat different from ours but there is significant overlap.
Khan Academy. These videos are 15 minutes or less and focus on one topic at a time. Almost all of those in the "Differential Equations" section are relevant to our course.
Code Academy's brief intro to Python. Totally optional but recommended.

Policy statement:
The University of Minnesota is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, religion, color, sex, national origin, handicap, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation.

An individual who has a disability, either permanent or temporary, which might affect his/her ability to perform in this class should contact the instructor as soon as possible so that he can adapt methods, materials and/or tests as needed to provide for equitable participation.