Beyond Formulas: A Collaboration between Liberal Arts Honors Underclassmen and Senior Math Majors

Document Type


Publication Date



“Congratulations! Sony Pictures producers have hired you as a scientific consultant to assist them in producing a remake of the classic film Gone With The Seabreeze, which chronicles the founding of the Westchester campus of Loyola University in 1929. The original film features shots of various old buildings that can still be found across campus today. The producers wish to recreate these shots, but need to know where to position the camera, which they have tasked you with finding.”

Thus began the month-long, collaborative project at Loyola Marymount University between the honors underclassmen in HNRS 140, On Motion and Mechanics, taught by Alissa S. Crans, and the senior applied mathematics majors in MATH 495, Mathematical Modeling, taught by Robert Rovetti. During a period of four weeks, six teams of freshman and sophomore liberal arts honors students, each led by a senior math major, set out to reconstruct an old photograph using a mathematical technique based on straightforward geometry. Along the way they would run into inaccessible landscapes, blocked views, and busy schedules, but ultimately they emerged with both a finished product and a clearer understanding of what it means to apply a theoretical method to a real-world problem. We begin by describing the courses and the assigned project itself, and then we reflect on the pedagogical goals of the project and various observations made by both students and instructors.

Publisher Statement

Published in Honors in Practice, Volume 7. Copyright 2011 National Collegiate Honors Council

Recommended Citation

Crans, A. and Rovetti, R. “Beyond Formulas: A Collaboration between Liberal Arts Honors Underclassmen and Senior Math Majors.” Honors in Practice, Vol. 7 (2011): 115 – 126.