Mathematics 5700

Fall 2012

Instructor: Kelly A. MacArthur

Class Time and Place:4:35 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Mondays and Wednesdays in JWB333

Office Hours: Mondays 3:00 -4:00 p.m., Tuesdays 1:00-2:00 p.m,
Fridays 1:00-2:00 p.m. or by appointment.
Office Location: JWB226
Office Phone Number: 581-8341
E-mail address:

Text: Mathematics for High School Teachers: An Advanced Perspective,
by Usiskin, Peressini, Marchisotto, and Stanley.
ISBN # 0-13-044941-5

Prerequisite: Completion, with a grade of C or better, of Math4030
and Math3100.

Computer Lab: also in the T. Benny Rushing Mathematics Student Center, Rm 155C.
M – Th 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
F 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Link to computer lab

Grading: The grades will be calculated as follows:
Homework 25%
Projects 20%
Midterm 15%
Midterm 15%
Final Exam 25%

Course Description: This capstone course is offered for in-service mathematics secondary school teachers and pre-service teachers nearing completion of their undergraduate program. Its purpose is to bridge the gap between the undergraduate mathematics curriculum and the topics and issues that arise in the secondary school classroom. Those majoring in mathematics--not mathematics secondary education--should be aware that this course does not qualify as a "mathematics elective" because it focuses primarily on topics in mathematics education. However, undergraduate and graduate students in mathematics have taken the course in previous semesters and found it rewarding.

Teaching Philosophy: I believe strongly that mathematics, at its core, is the art/experience/science of problem solving and pattern recognition. It is inherently a creative process, one to be struggled with, repeated, and enjoyed. The process requires imagination, persistence, courage, processing time, and ultimately produces experiential, mathematical skill. It is from this perspective that I teach. I'm not as concerned with the destination, i.e. the answer, as I am about the journey of problem-solving and mathematical exploration since it is exactly the entirety of the journey that creates the answer. And, self-confidence and mastery are then natural by-products of the mathematical journey.

Projects: Throughout the semester, I will assign 2-3 projects that will be given in addition to your weekly homework. The projects will be more in-depth problems than the homework and require more time. These will be discussed more in class.

Homework: The homework will be graded for correctness. The grade of each homework set will be based on accuracy, thoughtfulness, completeness and clarity of communication (i.e. there may be no credit given for answers given without work shown). You can use these as study tools for the exams. These homework sets will be due a week or two after assigned. Since these homewor sets will be given out at random times, it is your responsibility to show up to class in order to have current, correct information about these problems and their due dates. The lowest homework set score will be dropped, thus late homework sets will NOT be accepted under any circumstances. To turn in the homework, you will need to staple your homework together. Collaborating on homework is allowed, but each student's homework assignment should be clearly written in his/her own words which leave no room for interpreting collaboration with cheating or copying.

Online Grades: I will put your grades online on Canvas.
You can get there easily from the main University of Utah website To log in, you use the same student id and password that you use for Campus Information System. I do my best to update the grades on a regular basis and keep everything accurate. However, I would advise you to check your grades often to make sure there were no data entry mistakes. I'm always happy to correct any mistakes I've made. You just need to let me know about them.

Calculators: You may find it helpful to have a graphing calculator for your own personal use. However, if I allow calculators on exams or quizzes, I will only allow scientific calculators (no graphing or programmable calculators will be allowed ever). Most of the time, you will not have use of a calculator on exams and quizzes. This will be discussed more in class with each quiz and test.

Grading Scale: Although I'm not philosophically opposed to curving grades, I find it's rarely necessary. The grade scale will be the usual:
A (93-100), A- (90-92), B+ (87-89), B (83-86), B- (80-82), C+ (77-79),
C (73-76), C- (70-72), D+ (67-69), D (63-66), D- (60-62), E (0-59).
If I do need to curve the grades, I will simply shift everything down by a few points (whatever is necessary).

ADA Statement: The American with Disabilities Act requires that reasonable accommodations be provided for students with physical, sensory, cognitive, systemic, learning and psychiatric disabilities. Any student with a certified disability who needs to arrange reasonable accommodations must contact the Center for Disabled Students (CDS) and me at the beginning of the semester to discuss any such accommodations for the course.

Other Policies: Due to experience, I have decided to make some
additional policies regarding my classroom administration and grading.
  1. There will be no retakes of exams ever. Your score is what you get.

  2. You may take an alternate exam if you talk to me about it first and explain the extenuating circumstances that make it necessary. Needing to work, babysitting your siblings, oversleeping, or needing more time to study do not pass as acceptable reasons to inconvenience me. Getting in a car crash or your mother's death, on the other hand, is sufficient reason to request to take an alternate exam. But, it is 100% your responsibility to communicate with me as soon as is possible, before the exam occurs (or as soon as possible). Talking to me after the problem will be sufficient reason for me to allow you to get a zero on that test. I reserve the right to make alternate exams more difficult than the scheduled exam.

  3. I will demand respectful behavior in my classroom. Examples of disrespect include, but are not limited to, reading a newspaper or magazine in class, social chatting with your friend in class, text-messaging your buddies during class or cuddling with your girl/boyfriend in class. If you choose to be disrespectful during my class, I can guarantee I will take action to terminate your disruptive behavior, and that action may not be desirable for you.

  4. There will be no cursing nor negative ranting (for example, “math sucks”) on any written work turned in. The penalty for such things on your written work will be a zero score on that assignment or test!

  5. You need to have a valid email address registered with Campus Information System. I will regularly send emails to the class and will hold you accountable for receiving that information. If you have troubles receiving my weekly emails, you can (1) check to make sure your email address at Campus Information System is correct, (2) make sure my emails are not going directly to your junk mail folder, or (3) contact the webmaster at Campus Information System.

  6. If you have crisis-level extenuating circumstances which require flexibility, it is completely your responsibility to communicate with me as soon as possible. The longer you wait to communicate with me, the less I can and am willing to do to help.

  7. If you have questions about any exam/quiz/homework grade, or you want to appeal the grading of the exam/quiz/homework, you must bring it to me within one week of the exam. After that, you will have to live with whatever grade you got.

  8. Please make sure you do your best throughout the semester and come talk to me if you need further study strategies. I will NOT offer any extra credit at the end of the semester or any other way for you to improve your grade at that time. If you ask me toward the end of the semester if I'll make special arrangements for you to improve your grade by some means or what else you can do to improve your grade or give me some long explanation about how you need this class to go on or graduate or how a bad grade will adversely affect your life, I will automatically deduct one percentage point from your overall grade, just for asking the question!! Also, I will NOT respond to such emails, unless it is simply to refer to this note in the syllabus so you'll know why your grade was just decreased.

  9. If you cheat on any homework, project, quiz or exam, I will automatically give you a zero for that grade. Depending on the severity of the cheating, I may decide to fail you from the class.
  10. I reserve the right to change my policies stated in this syllabus at some point in the semester. If I do make a change to a policy, I will announce it in class and send the change in email.