Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2018-2019 (archived)

Module MATH1041: Programming and Dynamics I

Department: Mathematical Sciences

MATH1041: Programming and Dynamics I

Type Open Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2018/19 Module Cap Location Durham


  • Normally grade A in A-Level Mathematics (or equivalent).


  • Calculus and Probability I (MATH 1061) and Linear Algebra I (MATH 1071) and Analysis I (MATH1051)

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • Maths for Engineers and Scientists (MATH1551), Single Mathematics A (MATH1561), Single Mathematics B (MATH1571), Computational Thinking (COMP1051)


  • Basic principles and basic competence in computer programming.
  • An understanding of elementary classical Newtonian dynamics.


  • Programming: basic types (numerics), operators, variables and assignment.
  • Control structures: conditionals, loops and functions.
  • Floating-point arithmetic.
  • Lists, strings and introduction to objects.
  • Dynamics Newton's laws, frames of reference.
  • Mass, force, energy, momentum, angular momentum.
  • Sample motions: simple harmonic oscillator.
  • Projectiles.
  • Charged particle in constant electromagnetic field.
  • Orbits.
  • Waves on strings.
  • Wave equation for small amplitude oscillations, separation of variables.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • The ability to precisely formulate mathematical problems, develop algorithms to solve them and implement the algorithm as a Python program.
  • Dynamics: Newtonian Mechanics, frames of reference, Newton's laws.
  • Sample motions.
  • Two body systems.
  • Waves on strings.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • students will have basic mathematical skills in the following areas: Modelling; Spatial awareness; Computer programming.
Key Skills:
  • students will have basic programming skills for mathematical applications.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures introduce the basic concepts.
  • Practical sessions develop and practice programming skills, and provide active engagement and feedback to the learning process.
  • Weekly homework problems provide formative assessment to guide students in the correct development of their knowledge and skills. They are also an aid in developing students' awareness of standards required.
  • The examination provides a final assessment of the achievement of the student.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 39 1 per week in term 1, 2 or 3 per week alternating with Problems Classes in term 2, and 3 revision lectures in term 3 1 Hour 39
Tutorials 5 Fortnightly for weeks 14-20, and one in week 21 1 Hour 5
Problems Classes 4 Fortnightly in weeks 13-19 1 Hour 4
Practicals 10 One per week in Michaelmas Term 2 Hours 20
Preparation and Reading 132
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written examination for dynamics 2 hours 100% Yes
Component: Continuous assessment for programming Component Weighting: 30%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Computer project coursework 67% Yes
Weekly programming assessments 33% Yes
Component: Practical assessment for programming Component Weighting: 10%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Computer-based examination 2 hours 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

In Michaelmas, in the computer practicals, examples will be given and direct oral feedback will be given on student's work. In Epiphany, a weekly written assignment, normally consisting of solving problems from a Problem Sheet and typically will be about 2 pages long. Students will have about one week to complete each assignment.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University