Honors Algebra II/Trig Course Syllabus

Chris "Crispin" Thiel, OFMCap, MDiv, MS
cthiel@sfhs.net - (818) 790-0325 x638
website: www.mathorama.com
podcast: precalcproblems.blogspot.com
webwork: webwork.sfhs.net
homework: hw.mathorama.com

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.

Qtr 1 Qtr 2 Qtr 3 Qtr 4
Review of Algebra (R)
Equations and Inequalities(1)
Functions and Their Graphs(3)
Linear and Quadratic Functions (4)
Polynomials and Rational Functions (5)
Exponential and Logarithmic Functions(6)
Trigonometric Functions(7)
Analytic Trigonometry(8)
Applications of Trigonometric Functions(9)
Polar Coordinates and Vectors (10)
Analytic Geometry and Conics (11)
Systems of Linear Equations(12)
Non-Linear Systems of Equations (12)
Partial Fraction Decomposition (12)
Sequences and Series, Induction (13)
Binomial Theorem (13)
Counting and Probability (14)
Calculus Preparedness Exam Prep

Homework Assignments


Classroom Discipline
  1. 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.

  2. DO NOT ABUSE SCHOOL PROPERTY You are 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 the floor.

  3. 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.

  4. 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:
NON-TESTING 15% (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.
Homework 5% Grading is based upon doing assignments according to the description above.
Homework Quizzes 5% short quizzes current homework assignments, as well as webwork assignments.
TESTING 65% (Department Requires 60-70%)
Quizzes 15% longer quizzes, based on combining ideas from the homework, done on weeks without a test.
Tests 50% Hour long tests that integrate chapter topics into your problem solving skills.
EXAM 20% (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
Category Average Weight Points
Classroom × (0.05) =
Homework × (0.05) =
HW Quizzes × (0.05) =
Quizzes × (0.15) =
Tests × (0.50) =
Qtr Exams × (0.20) =

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%

(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: cthiel@sfhs.net