Math 246-01 Syllabus

Course Information


This course has been approved by IC’s Committee for College-Wide Requirements for meeting the qualifications of the Integrative Core Curriculum. Contingent upon successful completion of all course requirements and the uploading of required learning outcome artifacts onto Taskstream, this class meets and satisfies the ICC Quantitative Literacy designation.

Learning outcomes

Upon completing the course, you should be able to:


Your final score will be broken down as follows:

Final grades will be determined by the final percentage.

Grade Percent needed Grade Percent needed
A 93 C 73
A- 90 C- 70
B+ 87 D+ 67
B 83 D 63
B- 80 D- 60
C+ 77 F <60


Homework will be assigned roughly weekly, and will be graded based on correctness.


Reports will be more involved than homework sets, requiring you to analyze a data set and describe your analysis and results.

Policies, expectations, and assignments:

Assessments will be either in the form of collected homework sets, quizzes, or labs.

Attendance and Participation:

Late work

All homework deadlines will be posted on the course website. For the regular homework assignments, I will allow homework to be submitted up to 24 hours past the deadline with no penalty. No assignment may be submitted after this deadline except in extreme circumstances, which must be discussed with me ahead of time.

Thoughts about doing well in the course

Doing the work

I like watching hockey. I’ve watched games in person and on tv. If you expect that this makes me quite a good hockey player, you are very wrong. As it turns out, watching hockey doesn’t make you a better hockey player, and watching someone do math doesn’t make you better at doing math. In order to understand math, you need to do math. To best accomplish this, you will need to spend time actively doing math problems. To use our class time most effectively, you will need to read sections of the text to prepare for class. During class we will discuss the material, work problems together (as a class and in small groups), and make sense of the material together. If you do not do the reading ahead of time, you will probably find that class will not make as much sense as if you prepare. Links for the course calendar are posted online - check this periodically (as it may change during the semester). You can import it into whatever calendar program you use.

Reading a math book

You may not have given much thought to how to read a math book, but you probably realize that it’s not much like reading books in other subjects or reading for fun (though it can still be fun). There are two key things which I have found helpful in reading math books: 1) Read with a pencil in your hand - reading math is not a passive activity. Take notes, comment on problem solving strategies, and take note on the reasons why certain steps are taken at different times. 2) Cover up what’s coming next - when you’re reading example problems, use a piece of paper to cover up the next steps of the problem. After reading each line, ask yourself what step you think is coming next, or what possible routes you think might be useful. Only reveal the next line when you’ve thought about what might come next. If it’s different from what you see, ask yourself why, and see whether your method might have also worked. Ask yourself why the authors took the step they did. Do this for each line of the example problem.

Showing your work

It’s easy to think that the point of doing a math problem is to get to the answer, and the work is just necessary to get to the answer. There are many interesting ideas in a course like this where the answers are the least interesting part of the thinking you will do. If the story of Cinderella only had one line in it, ``and they lived happily ever after,’’ you probably wouldn’t find it a very interesting story, even though it has the same ending. Think of each math problem as its own story - the content of the story is every bit as important as the ending. If you want people, including your future self, to understand your story (i.e. solution), you should also make sure you are using proper grammar and spelling. This will make your work much easier to understand.

Office hours

Office hours are most useful when you’ve already thought about the problem(s) you have questions about. I’ll ask you ``what have you tried so far?’’, and I want to be able to see where you got stuck solving the problem. If you haven’t started the problem, you will probably find that you’ll get more out of office hours by thinking about the problem first.

Additional policies

Academic Honesty

You are expected to conform to the Standards of Academic Conduct printed in the Student Handbook. Plagiarism is the act of presenting someone else’s work as your own. This includes using a classmate’s work, something you found on the Internet, and textbooks other than the course textbook. If you have any questions about using sources, please come talk with me. You may, and are encouraged to, discuss homework for this class with other students and with me. However, you should always write up your homework on your own and in your own words.

Statement Regarding Disabilities

In compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, reasonable accommodation will be provided to students with documented disabilities on a case-by-case basis. Students must register with the Office of Academic Support Services and provide appropriate documentation to the College before any academic adjustment will be provided.

Title IX

Title IX is a federal act mandating that educational institutions must provide sex and gender equity. All students thus have the right to a campus atmosphere free of sexual harassment, sexual violence, and gender discrimination. For questions about sexual misconduct, see the Ithaca SHARE website (Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Education): To report or discuss sexual assault or harassment, or general issues, please contact Tiffani Ziemann, Title IX Coordinator; 607-274-3300.