Some of the project specifications include a list of questions. Please don't just write your paper as a list of questions and answers. Instead, these questions are intended to suggest what you might want to write about. Your essay should make sense on its own, even to somebody that never read the project description.
Typically, a good project will be about two or three pages. So you don't need to write a lot of words; the important thing is to make it clear that you've thought about the ideas.
In later weeks, some options will involve Proofs; I will ask you to write a rigorous mathematical proof for these. But even these projects are really essays, since a written proof in mathematics (as practised by human beings) is simply an essay explaining why something must be true. So don't just give a string of logical symbols with no words. (You may eventually have to do a Proofs project.)
Most projects are neither Programming nor Proofs; these are the most straightforward.
You must cite your sources!: Any idea that didn't come from class, one of the two textbooks, or your own mind should be attributed; any words that didn't come from your own mind should be quoted and cited. In the first two years that I taught this course (as MATH 112), there were several students that failed to cite sources; this is plagiarism, a form of cheating (one that's easy to catch, too). But there's really no reason to cheat in this way, because it's perfectly OK to use other people's ideas and words as long as you don't claim credit for them. (I was pleased to see last year that nobody committed any serious plagiarism.) However, the point of the essay is to say what you think; so, after copying somebody else's words with quotation marks and a complete citation, be sure to write your own words explaining your reaction to it.
This web page and the files linke from it were written between 2003 and 2006 by Toby Bartels. Toby reserves no legal rights to them.
Although the page has been preserved in its original form, the files linked from it have been converted to DjVu using Any2DjVu; they can be viewed on almost any operating system using DjVuLibre.
The permanent URI of this web page