Course Information, Spring 2006

Math 117: Gateways to Mathematics

Instructor:  Martha Wallace 
OMH 103 
Office Hours on Web 
Texts:  Tannenbaum,  Excursions in Modern Mathematics, 5th Ed. and Student Solutions Manual
Necessary tools: Fathom, Sketchpad, and Excel Software, on St. Olaf network  Willingness to think about, engage in, and enjoy exploring  mathematics.
Nice to have: If you have access to a TI-83, 84 or 89 calculator, it will come in handy in parts of the course.  However, it will not be necessary to purchase a calculator.

Grading:  Homework: 25%
3 Midterm Tests: 50% total
Final Exam
Attendance  - required.  See below

Attendance Policy: Since many exploration activities will be done in class, attendance is required at each class.  More than three absences may lower your grade.

Other Information

  1. Class Structure: This class is designed to be a cooperative venture in doing and learning mathematics. Much of our class work will entail hands-on investigations in which you will work with your teammates to discover mathematical relationships. This is not a "professor lectures and students take notes" class -- rather it is a cooperative investigation into the nature of mathematics and mathematical thinking. Attendance and full participation is required at each class.
  2. Preview Assignments and Daily Quizzes:
  3. You will typically be expected to read and take notes on the material prior to the day that we cover it in class. You will use your reading outlines and preview exercises in several ways:
  4. Submitted Homework: In addition to reading assignments, you will typically have a written assignment  each day that will be due at the beginning of the next class period. No late homework will be accepted.  However,  the three lowest daily homework scores will be deleted from consideration when grades are calculated, to allow for emergencies or illness. You are encouraged to work with other class members to do your homework assignments, but you should each submit your own paper.  The current and back assignments can be found on the class Moodle page.
  5. Using the Student Solutions Manual:  Many of your assigned homework problems will be odd numbered problems in the text, which have solutions in the Student Solutions Manual..  Early in the course you will be required to work the problems yourself, then compare your solutions to those of the Solutions Manual, and hand in your work and your comparison comments.  Later in the course, you will be expected to do this on your own and hand in only the even-numbered exercises of those assigned. 
  6. Long Term Project:  Each person is responsible for working in a team of three to prepare a poster presentation on some topic connected to graph theory,  symmetry/fractals, ot statistics.  The poster presentation will include a class handout with a summary or outline and a bibliography, as well as a more detailed outline for the instructor. Presenters should make every attempt to present the topic in an instructive and professional manner using appropriate terminology and illustrations. Presentations will be graded on understanding and communication of content, depth of research, effectiveness of presentation, and evidence of active involvement by all members of the team.
  7. Tests:  In addition to the daily card quizzes, you will have three mid-term tests, each covering one part of the book, and a comprehensive final exam.  These tests will most likely include both take-home and in-class portions. 
  8. Getting Help:   I am glad to answer questions or talk about your homework during my office hours and at other times by appointment. You may also e-mail questions to me. Professor Kay Smith has taught from this book and will be glad to help you during her office hours on days when I am not available.
  9. Disability Accomodations:   If you have a documented disability for which accommodations may be required in this class, please contact Ruth Bolstad ( ), Student Disability Services Specialist in the Academic Support Center (x3288) located in Room 1 of Old Main