Mathematics 5700

Fall 2009

Instructor: Kelly A. MacArthur

Class Time and Place:4:35 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Mondays and Wednesdays in LCB323

Office Hours: Mondays 1:30-4:00 p.m., Tuesdays 3:00-5:30 p.m,
Wednesdays 8:30-10:30 a.m., Fridays 1:00-4:00 p.m. or by appointment.
Office Location: JWB226
Office Phone Number: 581-6837
E-mail address:

Text: Mathematics for High School Teachers: An Advanced Perspective,
by Usiskin, Peressini, Marchisotto, and Stanley.

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 homework
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.

WebCT: I will put your grades online on WebCT.
You can get there easily from the main University of Utah website
(There's also a link from my 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.
I do not have any preference regarding which calculator would be most useful,
so you're welcome to choose for yourself. I will allow calculators on some
exams and not on others, depending on the material and whether or
not I think a calculator is necessary. This will be discussed more in class
with each 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).

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 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.
  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 expect
    you to be responsible for receiving that information.
  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.