Mathematics 4020

Fall 2013

Instructor: Kelly A. MacArthur

Class Time and Place: 4:35 - 6:30 p.m.
Mondays and Wednesdays

Office Hours:
Office Location: JWB226
Office Phone Number: 581-8341
E-mail address:

Text: A Problem Solving Approach to Mathematics for Elementary School Teachers
by Billstein, Libeskind, Lott, 11th edition, ISBN 978-0-321-75666-4

Prerequisite: At least a C grade in Math4010 within the last year.

Tutoring Lab: T. Benny Rushing Mathematics Student Center (adjacent
to JWB and LCB), Room 155
M - Th 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
F 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
(closed Saturdays, Sundays and holidays)
They are also offering group tutoring sessions. If you're interested,
inquire at the Tutoring Lab.
Note: There is special tutoring set up for Math4010/4020 students offered in room #152 in the Math Center throughout the semester.
Private Tutoring: University Tutoring Services, 330 SSB
(they offer inexpensive tutoring). There is also a list of tutors at
the Math Department office in JWB233.

Math Education Website: The math department has a web page
for math teachers in K-12 schools.

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

Grading: The grades will be calculated as follows:
Weekly Homework 15%
Midterm 20%
Midterm 20%
Practicum 14%
Portfolio 6%
Final Exam 25%

Calculators: Calculators will not be used much in this class. For exams, you may be allowed to use a calculator, but not a cell phone calculator. This will be discussed more in class.

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.

Weekly Homework: You are responsible for knowing these policies. Please take it seriously because the flexibility listed here is literally all there is.

Practicum: Each student will spend three hours in an elementary school classroom observing children in the classroom. This classroom experience will be discussed in our class as an assignment. Please be sure to complete your observations by October 7th and turn in your permission slip by then (I will not read and/or grade your practicum report unless this is turned in). After your observations are complete, you will spend another three hours working with a small group of children (at least two and the children must be non-family members) teaching a math lesson. The practicum report is a typewritten analysis of your mathematical work with the children. Be sure to keep careful notes from this work in order to have the information available when you write your practicum report. The report is due November 25th and will be discussed in more detail during class. For every day, or portion thereof, that your Practicum report is late, you will be deducted 20 percentage points! Remember that writing the practicum report is required to pass this course.

Portfolio: The portfolio assignment will be handed out in the first week of class, so you can be working on it throughout the semester. You can choose to put your portfolio in a notebook or in an accordian file, whichever you prefer. This is meant to be a long-term reference for you with regard to all the math we cover in this course. You will use your portfolio in your Math Methods course to expand on some of the ideas therein. These will be due during the last week of class. (I will set up individual appointments with you to bring your portfolio to me for grading.) I do not accept late Portfolios. The portfolio assignment will also be discussed more in class.

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.

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. I do NOT allow the use of laptop computers in my classroom. At this point, I don't believe you are taking notes for the class if your computer is open. Thus, it is unnecessary in class.
  2. There will be no retakes of exams…ever. Your score is what you get.
  3. 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.
  4. I will demand respectful behavior in my classroom. Examples of disrespect include 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.
  5. 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!
  6. You need to have a valid email address registered with Campus Information System. I will regularly send emails to the class and expect you to be responsible for receiving that information.
  7. 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.
  8. If you have questions about any exam grade, or you want to appeal the grading of the exam, you must bring it to me within one week of the exam. After that, you will have to live with whatever grade you got.
  9. 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, I will automatically deduct one percentage point from your overall grade, just for asking the question!!
  10. 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. In all cases of cheating, I will also report the incident to the Dean of Students. Additionally, if an international student cheats, I will also report the incident to the International Students Office.
  11. 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.