Trigonometry/Precalculus Course Syllabus
Chris Thiel, OFMCap, MDiv, MS
firstname.lastname@example.org - (818) 790-0325 x638
This course will cover chapters 4-9 of the textbook. The review of the prerequisites of this course (Chapters 1-3) will be incorporated when appropriate in the first and third quarters. At the end of the course will be a cumulative review to assist the student's performance on the placement exam at the College or University they will attend in the fall. Use the links below to see the schedule of topics:
The name "homework" may be misleading, since we occasionally do
certain assignments in class, but you can only master the material if you work problems between classes. Make use of the online video links to prepare for the upcoming 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).
- 4 points is the maximum score each homework check, 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
hw.mathorama.com (there is also a link from Edline), along with worksheets and links to helpful videos, and java applets. If you are absent, this is where pdf files of all handouts reside---and dont forget to read the book and watch the videos!
See also my video podcast Precalc problems Explained
and the textbook links on the Trig/Precalc page at www.mathorama.com
- Weekly Quizzes are administered every week that does not have a chapter test.
In general, weekly quizzes are based based on combining ideas from the homework assignments
and examples done in class. You usually have 10-25 minutes to complete the quiz. Keep in mind that all quizzes and tests may also include some question from a previous chapter. I hope that this would encourage you to spend more time going over topics that you find elusive (rather than just "writing off" a chapter and never learning a skill which you will actually need next year).
Due to the importance of retaining skills from previous chapters, we have 5 to 15 minute quizzes from past and present textbook problems on days without tests or weekly quizzes.
- Sometimes, your notes and your homework
may be used while taking a quiz, but not your textbook, nor print outs of homework solutions, old quiz keys, nor other people's work.
This is to encourage you to take careful, clear and complete notes of your own in class
and encourage you to keep up to date with your homework. Sometimes WebWork assignment will count as a homework quiz.
Tests are administered after covering a significant body of work, usually
after each chapter of the text. Sometimes however, a large chapter
is divided into two parts, with a Test for each part of the chapter. Tests integrate 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 might include individual or group worksheets, board work, demonstrations, or questions on an activity (computer activity, project or video). The homework assignment page has links to videos, in case this is more useful than the textbook, but it is important to prepare for class so most of our time can be used to work on the more difficult exercises.
Your classwork score may be lowered by not having the previous homework, notes, pencil or textbook out at the start of class, or failing to bring your book, paper, pencil and calculator to class. Please turn off your phone and/or wireless device(s) and put them in your book bag outside the classroom.
If you were absent, you must bring your yellow re-admit slip to the next class, (since an unexcused abscence counts as 0% for all assignments due on 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" style of questioning. There are only thought provoking questions, and
an average student only answers half of them correctly. These exams are therefore graded on a curve, based on the average and standard deviation of those taking the exam this year.
The grade for this course is based upon mastery of the curriculum, so there are no extra credit assignments.
- DO NOT DISRUPT CLASS
Mobile communication devices must be in your backpack stored in the designated area. 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
the floor. Be gentle when using a school computer. If you are
banned from the use of the computer, all computer based
assignments are replaced with extensive written
- DO NOT ABUSE YOUR TIME
Take advantage of the group work sessions. This is the time
to do your talking---so long as you get the work done. Abuse
of this privilege will result in individual loss of the privilege
as well as the disciplinary measures mentioned above.
Consult the student handbook
for the consequences of talking without permission during quizzes or tests.
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. 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 study. 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, calculator, computer lab and classroom activities. You must bring a textbook, calculator, paper and pencil to each class.
||Grading is based upon doing assignments according to the description above.
||(Department Requires 60-70%)
|Homework Quizzes 5%
||short quizzes from past and present textbook problems on days without tests or weekly quizzes, and WebWork online homework problems.
|Weekly Quizzes 15%
||longer quizzes, based on combining ideas from the homework.
|Chapter Tests 50%
||Hour long tests that integrate chapter topics into your problem solving skills.
||(Department requires 15-20%)
|Quarter Exam 15%
||90 minutes, comprehensive exam, 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.
Edline automatically does the following calculation:
Edline 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: email@example.com