Honors Algebra II/Trig Course Syllabus
Chris "Crispin" Thiel, OFMCap, MDiv, MS
email@example.com - (818) 790-0325 x638
Observations and experiments are used by scientists (to test their theories), and by engineers (to test their designs),
yet both depend on mathematics. Mathematics can model relationships to find
solutions, yet mathematics depends upon logic and reason to justify its claims. We will
use graphing and numerical methods to discover and understand mathematical postulates and theorems,
but also algebraic and analytical methods for justifying our conclusions whether it be for mathematical rigor, or
for scientific, engineering, financial, or some other application. The more you can explain, the more you will retain! Help each other as you work through homework and classwork by asking for and offering explanations why a method or conclusion might be correct. I will be available after school Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-3:30 in Room 204 if you need extra help.
- You will not be able master the course's curriculum without spending time working problems from the homework in between classes.
Homework is usually assigned from
the textbook, though it may also include a worksheet.
The name "homework" may be misleading, since we occasionally do
certain assignments in class.
- Homework is due each class, usually from the topic(s) covered from the previous class. Any difficulties you have with the previous section should be addressed, since I will grade your homework the following class (For example, on class 7, you will have done the work from class 6, dealing with any difficulties you may have had during class 7, and I will grade the homework from class 5)
- Late homework will only be accepted if there was an excused absence or other extenuating circumstances.
- Grading of homework
is based on the following:
sheet must have:
- the student's name and seat location in the upper right corner of EACH sheet
- class period & date
- the assignment's chapter and section number,
- each question & diagram (if appropriate) needs to written out.
- an honest attempt at an answer (showing appropriate work).
- a legible appearance (No scratch work in the margins).
- 400 points is the maximum score each homework, according to the following rubric:
|Complete, accurate and neat
||Name not on every page,
incorrect answer on one or more problems
necessary work (to arrive at the answer shown) is missing
(for one or more problems)
|Questions not written out
(for one or more problems)
One or more problems not attempted
|Many problems were not attempted
||No work brought to class
- Homework assignments are posted on the internet at:
See also my video podcast Precalc problems Explained
and the homework solutions, worksheets, powerpoint presentations, java applets,
and old tests at www.mathorama.com
- Quizzes are administered at least once a week unless that week has a that a chapter test.
In general, quizzes are based based on combining ideas from current and past homework assignments and examples done in class (including review problems). You usually have 10-20 minutes to complete a quiz. Keep in mind that all quizzes and tests may also include some question from a previous chapter (or previous course). I hope that this would encourage you to spend more time going over topics that you still need to master (rather than just "writing off" a chapter and never learning a skill which you will actually need next year).
Short Homework quizzes are based primarily on the current homework problems in order to motivate you to do your assignments on time. Webwork assignments are also scored in this category.
- Chapter tests are administered after covering a significant body of work, usually
after each chapter of the text (usually every other week). Sometimes however, a large chapter
is divided into two parts, with a Chapter Test after each. Chapter Tests integrate chapter topics into your problem solving skills, and you are usually only permitted 60 minutes to complete.
- Projects are assigned to encourage the communication of mathematical insights
and to help deepen your understanding
of a particular topic. Projects take on a variety of forms including online quizzes and activities, making web pages, videos, posters and presentations.
Projects are either 5 or 10 point assignments.
- Each class will include some sort of activity. This might include individual or group worksheets, board work, demonstrations, or questions on an activity (computer activity, project or video). Any class where you are disruptive, off-task, impede a classmate's work, or
fail to be prepared, you cannot recieve full credit.
An example of not being prepared is not having the previous homework, notes, pencil or textbook out at the start of the lecture, or failing to bring your book, paper, pencil, charged iPad or calculator to class. Please turn off your phone and/or wireless device(s) and put them in your book bag outside.
If you were absent, you must bring your yellow re-admit slip to the next class, since an unexcused abscence counts for 0% for any assignment that day.
- There is a special schedule during "Finals Week" to allow for a long, cumulative
examination of your mathematical skills. To help your test taking skills, the test employs the "SAT" and "AP" style of questioning. These thought provoking questions are designed so that an average student can answer about half of them correctly, so that the remaining questions can assess higher levers of mastery. The raw scores are therefore transformed into the usual scale (where 70 is a C, 80 is a B and 90 is an A). The best score will always score 100%.
- The Math department does not permit extra credit.
- DO NOT DISRUPT CLASS
Mobile communication devices must be in your backpack stored in the designated area. Offering and using VPNs are forbidden by school policy. For the sake of the majority of the class, those who disrupt
a class lesson by talking, disturbing someone, or throwing any
object will not be tolerated. Disciplinary measures may include
written assignments or cleaning of the classroom. Chronic or severe disruptions
warrant a phone call home and/or a detention.
- DO NOT ABUSE SCHOOL PROPERTY
responsible for your work place and will be held accountable to
keep your desk and its environs clean. Feet should remain on the floor,
never on the desk. All four feet of the desk must also remain on
- DO NOT ABUSE YOUR TIME
Take advantage of the class work sessions. The iPad will be used in the classroom and students are expected to arrive at each class with the device sufficiently charged.
There are only a limited number of loaner iPads available in room 405, so it is
best to make sure your iPad is ready to be used. External battery packs are an affordable
way to make sure you never without a charged iPad.
The pace and rigor of the class is such that any time distracted by the iPad will
significantly impact a students' progress in a negative way.
To help focus your attention, please double-click the home button and quit all communication and entertainment apps before class begins.
Students will be expected to monitor their behavior with the iPads
with little direction from the instructor.
Any time or attention diverted by technology will result in a decreasing chance of a
successful performance in this class.
As per the student handbook,
students are responsible for work missed due to absence the day
they return. If you are present and a quiz or test is scheduled,
you must take it. Make-up tests usually have more (or more difficult) questions. It is a good idea to have the contact information
of several classmates to see what material
and assignments were covered during your absence. If you miss
a quiz you cannot gain any points for it.
If you know you will be absent
for a test, you may schedule to take it before the actual test
date if prior arrangements have been made with the instructor.
In the case of an extended illness special arrangements should
be made with the Academic Vice Principal, Mr. Trujillo.
- LIVE UP TO YOUR GOOD NAME You are expected to exhibit the
attributes of a St. Francis
Golden Knight: courteous attention, gracious cooperation, and
dedicated to improving themselves and others. Each can readily be seen in the thoroughness
and orderliness of your work, as well as how you offer, ask, and accept help from others.
Scores are weighted according to their category:
||(Department requires 15-20%)
|Classroom Work 5%
||Based upon the completion of worksheets, and other classroom activities. You must bring a textbook, iPad, calculator, paper and pencil to each class.
||Grading is based upon doing assignments according to the description above.
|Homework Quizzes 5%
||short quizzes current homework assignments, as well as webwork assignments.
||(Department Requires 60-70%)
||longer quizzes, based on combining ideas from the homework, done on weeks without a test.
||Hour long tests that integrate chapter topics into your problem solving skills.
||(Department requires 15-20%)
|Qtr Exams 20%
||90 minutes, comprehensive, usually with a section using the calculator, and another section that prohibits the use of a calculator.
To conform with math department policy, each assessment category is "weighted" (rather than using raw points). This means that to dramatically improve an overall grade, a student must dramatically improve the average grade in one or more of these categories.
It reminds me of how the Presidential election works, using the electoral college instead of popular vote. If all the candidate's supporters are in the same state, it isn't as effective as having supporters in different states, since to with the election, you have to win over a lot of big states. Similarly, it would be best for a student to do well in as many categories as possible, especially the categories that are worth more.
The gradebook automatically does the following calculation:
.05*(average classroom work) + .05*(avg homework) + .05*(avg hw quiz) + .15*(avg quiz) + .50*(average test) + .20*(avg exam) = overall percentage
The Gradebook then converts this percentage into letter grades strictly as follows:
|90% to 100%||A to A-
|80% to 89.99%||B+ to B-
|70% to 79.99%||C+ to C-
|60% to 69.99%||D+ to D-
|0% to 59.99%||F
(While plusses and minuses are indicated on the grade report, they are ignored and not used in computing the student's grade point average (GPA).
Are you Ready for Calculus?
At the turn of the century (2005), some (like J. Kilpatrick and R. James Milgram at Stanford) claimed that over 40% of graduating seniors in California were not prepared enough to enroll in college level mathematics courses. Before enrolling in a Mathematics class at the UC, Cal State and Cal Poly schools students must take a an Entry Level Mathematics exam (ELM) and at most University of California campuses they require passing a Mathematics Diagnostic Test (MDT).
You can link to the Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Project web page here. Half way through the year you should be able to pass the Math Readiness (MR) test, which is what would be required to enrolled for the Precalculus Course at a four-year university. At the end of the year, you should be able to pass the Calculus readiness (CR) test, which is what would required before enrolling in Calculus at a 4-year college or university.
Before attempting them, get at least two (2) sheets of blank paper (no calculators allowed) and allow yourself one hour in a quiet place. Unlike an AP or SAT exam, try not to guess. The idea is to find out which skills you need to improve, and you don't want a lucky guess to hide an area of deficiency. At the end of the test it tells you which of six (or eight for the CR test) areas of math each question is evaluating.
Send e-mail to instructor: firstname.lastname@example.org