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Syllabus for Calculus

Fall 2007 | Packer Collegiate Institute |Mr. Sam Shah Or, How to Successfully Swim in Deep Mathematical Waters

Howdy! This year we are going to discover beautiful, useful and extraordinary islands of knowledge. I’m going to be challenging you consistently as you build bridges from island to island – from fascinating functions to graphing to integration and differentiation. These islands will provide resting places for our adventures, while we explore what great things these paradises have to offer: puzzles, theorems, proofs, conjectures, and some surprises. Still, any adventure isn’t an adventure unless there is uncertainty, unexpected perils. I can promise you that you will not be immune from confusion, wandering dazed and confused. But don’t worry! Yes, at times it will be hard – all good adventures are -but rest assured that I’m always going to be right there with you. I am here to tell you now: we will not leave you behind. In fact, I’m going to make sure we make it to the goal with lots of sparkling mathematical treasures to your name. [List some theorems and ideas they will learn]

Teaching Goes Both Wa ys
You are in this class to learn the calculus – and even though we are in this journey together (remember: I am on your side), that does not absolve you of responsibility. For this class to operate smoothly, for us to have a good time, to get all we need to get accomplished in mere months, you need to … come to class prepared every day … spend quality time working on your homework daily … not be afraid to ask questions about concepts or homework problems you are struggling with … be an active participant in every class … be kind and respectful to the other members of the class


If you keep your end of the bargain, I guarantee you that your mind with be brimming with intellectual riches at the end of the school year. You will have learned a lot. Just as I expect only the best from you, I want you to expect the best from me. I promise to come to each class well-prepared, ready to embark on our daily adventures. I promise to try my best to make my presentations clear and interesting. I promise to respect you.

Your grade will be based on four main categories: positive class participation, homework, tests, and the final exam. Positive Class Participation: You must come to class on time, positively engaging with the material. I think you already have a sense of what that might entail, but here are some examples: sitting down and having materials ready when class starts, offering conjectures or answers in class, engaging in groupwork well, being on time every day, helping someone else, etc. (NOTE: being on time is important to me… for every 3 days you come to class late, your course grade will go down by one percentage point.) Homework: I won’t check your homework every day; it will be obvious if you’ve done it or not when we go over it in class. (NOTE: bring your homework notebook to class every day!) However, at the end of the chapter, I will administer a “homework quiz” where you will have access to only your homework notebook. The quiz will look something like this: Section 7.1, Section 7.2, Section 7.3, … Section 7.8, problem 12 problem 35 problem 21 problem 2

You are expected to simply copy all of your work and the answer for the listed problems. What this means is that you have to do all homework problems and write out the work for each one of them. This should be the 2

easiest A in the history of the world. Good luck if you don’t bring your homework notebook the day of the homework quiz! (You will schedule to take a different quiz the next day – not during class time – and your grade will be reduced by one-third… e.g. if you get a 90%, your grade will be a 60%.) You should try to do the homework alone first, but I really encourage you after an initial attempt with a difficult problem to go to a colleague to discuss it! However, how much you discuss ideas and problems you’re your fellow students, your work on the homework you write up must be your own. Tests: Final Exam:

Important Fine Print
Safety: Your safety is my number one concern, and mathematics can get treacherous at times. My number one rule is: do not divide by zero, lest your paper busts into flames. Absences: The Packer Student Handbook states: “If a student misses more than 10% of scheduled classes in any course in any semester (for classes that meet four days a week, this is seven absences), credit for that course is in jeopardy… Excused absences are included in the sevenabsence limit per class, per semester.” Academic Integrity: The crux of this is “don’t cheat.” And for all the discussions around what constitutes cheating, I believe you know what it is. So don’t exchange answers on an exam or quiz, tell a student in another section of the class problems on the exams, or do other morally bankrupt things. But seriously, my fundamental assumption is that you, my intrepid mathematical explorers, are generally good people. So don’t prove me wrong. If you do cheat, and I find out, not only have you destroyed my seemingly unflagging faith in humanity, but you will get a 0 on the assignment and your parents and advisor will be notified immediately.


An important note, however, is that I encourage you to talk with other students about concepts, homework problems, etc.; just make sure you are writing up your homework yourself. Email: I am an email junkie and I will be checking my email multiple times a day. However, I don’t guarantee a response to anything sent after 5pm. Extra Help: I am always available to meet with students for additional support. It is best to schedule a time to meet over email or in class – and not while running past me in the hallway. But that can work too. Missing a Test: It is your responsibility to schedule a test administered in your absence.

A challenging problem to wrap your mind around.
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