Course Materials: Functioning in the Real World: A Precalculus Experience, by Gordon, Gordon, Fusaro, Siegel, and Tucker.
A graphing calculator will be useful, although it is not required.
The text, and a calculator if you have one, should be brought to class every day.
You will learn to use a combination of algebraic, graphical, and
numerical methods, and to decide which is the most helpful tool in
any given context. You will develop your understanding of the
mathematical concepts and learn how to apply them to realistic
problems, not just perform operations mechanically. You
will learn to interpret results, not just to obtain answers. You
will use technology not just as a tool for answering questions that
arise naturally, but also to learn mathematics.
This class has several important aims. You will learn
mathematical thinking, to read and write
mathematics, to use technology, and lastly, you will
learn specific mathematical skills. All of these are important for
As you read through how the course is structured, you will see that a
lot is expected of you. You will need to spend an average of 9
hours a week on reading, homework, and projects!
Who should take Calculus? Calculus is different from your previous
math courses, and gives the first taste of how exciting and beautiful
math should be, so of course everyone should take it. However, I know
that many of you don't have enough time to take every course you want
to, so some of you may not want to take Calculus unless you need it.
Those majors which require Calculus are: Math (of course), Physics,
Chemistry, Economics and Environmental Science. Calculus is also
recommended for students who are premed.
Students interested in other disciplines are of course encouraged to
take Calculus, but be aware: if you are considering majoring in
Sociology or Psychology, you will be required to take Statistics
(which does satisfy the math and logic requirement).
I have made a list of some suggestions for reading a math book, which you should read frequently.
Every day, part of your assignment will be to read the material that we will be discussing during the next class. Many of you have not read mathematics before,
so to help you
I will post questions on the web every day
that cover that day's reading. You will send the responses to those
questions by 8am of next day of class, following the
guidelines for submitting reading assignments. For instance, if on Wednesday I assign reading on Section 1.1, then by 8am Friday, you will have read that section, checked my web page for the latest questions, and sent me your responses by e-mail.
These will be graded on a 2 point scale: 2 points if you respond in full (whether correctly or not) and 1 point for a partial response. Late responses will not be accepted.
I will assign several problems each Friday. You are, of course,
responsible for all of them, but you only turn in 2 or 3 of them, which
I will specify. On Wednesdays, I will answer questions on a few of the problems
I am not
collecting. Solutions will be due by 4 pm Friday.
I do not accept late homework, but I do drop the lowest score.
Consult the Guidelines for Homework Presentation for information on how your homework should look.
All of the exams will be untimed. To accomodate that, they will all
be given on Thursdays.
Two exams will be "gateway exams". These exams should only take 15-30 minutes. They will not test mathematical ideas so much as the skills which are the foundation of the course. You must get 100% on these exams, but you may take them over and over again until you pass. The longer you take to pass them, however, the less
they are worth. (Note that it doesn't matter how many you take, only
how many days go by until you pass it.)
In addition to the gateway exams, we will be having two midterm exams. Each of these will take an hour or more to complete. They may test some mathematical skills, but the primary emphasis will be giving you an opportunity to show me how well you've mastered the underlying mathematical ideas.
We will also, of course, have a cumulative final, which will also be untimed. It will be like a self-scheduled exam, except that I
will administer it rather than it being given through the registrar's
Notify me in advance if you will be missing an exam, either by phone or by e-mail. If your reason for missing is acceptable, we will arrange that you take the exam early. If you miss an exam without notifying me in advance, I reserve the right to not give you any make-up exam. I will not give any individual more than one make-up exam during the semester.
If you question the fairness of any grade, bring it to me within a week of receiving it.
Reading assignments: You may discuss the questions with your classmates, but you must enter the responses yourself.
Homework and Projects: You may work with anybody you want. You may use any references you want. However, you must understand how to do every problem, and you must site references. That not only includes any other textbooks, but also naming anybody you worked with or got help from.
Exams: You may not use any notes, books, or colleagues as reference during the in-class exams. You may not use a calculator unless everybody in the class has access to a graphing calculator.