Colorado State University, Pueblo
Math 109 — Math Explorations — Spring 2014

Here is a shortcut to the course schedule/homework page.

Lectures: T$\Theta$ 1-2:20pm in PM 106      Office Hours: T$\Theta$11am-1pm and W12-1pm, or by appointment

Instructor: Jonathan Poritz     Office: PM 248     E-mail:
Phone: 549-2044 (office — any time); 357-MATH (personal;please use sparingly)

Text: Excursions in Modern Mathematics (7th ed.), by Peter Tannenbaum.

Prerequisites: Satisfactory placement exam score or Math 099 or equivalent.

Postrequisites: This course is one of the six classes which satisfy the Quantitative Reasoning Skill of the General Education Requirement. It is also require for admission to the Teacher Education program, and is a prerequisite for Econ 202.

Calculator: A scientific calculator may be used in this course. The TI-30X IIS is strongly recommended.

Course Content/Objective: The Catalog describes it as:

Emphasis on quantitative reasoning and problem solving. Topics chosen from logic, sets, algebra, linear programming, probability, statistics, number theory, geometry, voting theory, and graph theory.

Attendance and workload: Regular attendance in class is a key to success. But more than merely attending, you are also expected to be engaged with the material in the class. In order for this to be possible, it is necessary to be current with required outside activities such as reading textbook sections and doing homework problems. You are expected to spend 2-3 hours per hour of class on this outside work — this is not an exaggeration (or a joke!), in fact it is closer to a legal requirement.

Students who have two or more unexcused absences during the first two weeks of the term will be automatically withdrawn from this class. If a withdrawal is indicated, you will be informed via email sent to your campus email address. (See 2013-2014 Catalog, page 47.)

Homework: There will be roughly weekly homework sets assigned and collected. Here are some details:

Revision of work on homework and tests: A great learning opportunity is often missed by students who get back a piece of work graded by their instructor and simply shrug their shoulders and move on. In fact, painful though it may be, looking over the mistakes on those returned papers is often the best way to figure out exactly where you tend to make mistakes. If you correct that work, taking the time to make sure you really understand completely what was missing or incorrect, you will often truly master the technique in question, and never again make any similar mistake.

In order to encourage students to go through this learning experience, I will allow students to hand in revised solutions to all homeworks and midterms. There will be an expectation of slightly higher quality of exposition (more clear and complete explanations, all details shown, etc.) but you will be able to earn a percentage of the points you originally lost, so long as you hand in the revised work at the very next class meeting. The percentage you can earn back is given in the "revision %" column of the table in the Grades section, below.

Exams: We will have three midterm exams on dates to be determined (and announced at least a week in advance). Our final exam is scheduled for Wednesday, April 30th from 1am-3:20pm in our usual classroom.

Grades: In each grading category, the lowest n scores of that type will be dropped, where n is the value in the "# dropped" column. The total remaining points will be multiplied by a normalizing factor so as to make the maximum possible be 100. Then the different categories will be combined, each weighted by the "course %" from the following table, to compute your total course points out of 100. Your letter grade will then be computed in a manner not more strict than the traditional "90-100% is an A, 80-90% a B, etc." method. [Note that the math department does not give "+"s or "-"s.]

  pts each # of such # dropped revision % course %
Homework: 5/prob ≈75 probs 7 probs 75% 30%
Midterms: >100 3 0 50% 50%
Final Exam: >200 1 0 0% 20%

Contact outside class: Over the years I have been teaching, I have noticed that the students who come to see me outside class are very often the ones who do well in my classes. Now correlation is not causation, but why not put yourself in the right statistical group and drop in sometime? I am always in my office, PM 248, during official office hours. If you want to talk to me privately and/or cannot make those times, please mention it to me in class or by e-mail, and we can find another time. Please feel free to contact me for help also by e-mail at, to which I will try to respond quite quickly (usually within the day, often much more quickly); be aware, however, that it is hard to do complex mathematics by e-mail, so if the issue you raise in an e-mail is too hard for me to answer in that form, it may well be better if we meet before the next class, or even talk on the telephone (in which case, include in your e-mail a number where I can reach you).

A request about e-mail: E-mail is a great way to keep in touch with me, but since I tell all my students that, I get a lot of e-mail. So to help me stay organized, please put your full name and the course name or number in the subject line of all messages to me. Also, if you are asking for help on a homework problem, tell me as much of the problem as you can, since I may not have my book with me when I get your mail.

Academic integrity: Mathematics is more effectively and easily learned — and more fun — when you work in groups. However, all work you turn in must be your own, and any form of cheating is grounds for an immediate F in the course for all involved parties. Please do not use a cell phone during class. You may not use a cell phone or share a calculator with another student during a test.

Tutoring Help: The Math Learning Center offers registered CSU-Pueblo students free assistance in their math classes from Elementary Algebra to Calculus and Statistics. It is staffed by a Director and student tutors. Located in the Phyiscs and Mathematics building, PM 132, it is open this spring semester from January 20, 2014 through May 2, 2014. No appointment is necessary, just walk in and ask for help. The hours of operation are posted in the Center and

Students with disabilities: The University abides by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which stipulate that no student shall be denied the benefits of education "solely by reason of a handicap." If you have a documented disability that may impact your work in this class for which you may require accommodations, please see the Disability Resource Coordinator as soon as possible to arrange accommodations. In order to receive accomodations, you must be registered with and provide documentation of your disability to: the Disability Resource Office, which is located in the Library and Academic Resources Center, Suite 169.


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