Freshman Seminar
Fall 2003
MATH 171.01 (1 credit), W, 11:00AM-11:50AM, Wickersham 124


Freshman mathematics majors taking Calculus I.


Dr. Buchanan
Office: Wickersham 218, Phone: 872-3659, FAX: 871-2320
Office Hours: 9:00AM-9:50AM (M_W_F), 9:00AM-9:30AM (Tu_Th), or by appointment


In place of a textbook, we will have printed handouts and assigned readings from a variety of sources.


This seminar will introduce students to a mathematical way of thinking through a sequence of exploratory problem assignments. Students will experience problem solving and mathematical inquiry in a controlled environment using discussion, collaboration, abstraction, and technologies. The objectives of the seminar include prodding the students to critically analyze their use of mathematics, mathematical procedures, and technologies with a goal of having the students pierce the ``black box'' approach to mathematics.

Course Contents:
The semester activities may include exposure to and exploration of the following topics and activities. The topics may not be covered in precisely the order in which they are described below. Related topics from the list below will be covered together. Whenever possible, topics from the list below will be synchronized with the topics in the Calculus I syllabus.

If time permits other topics may be covered as well.


Students are expected to attend all class meetings. Since an objective of the seminar is to demonstrate that mathematical inquiry is often a collaborative activity, students must be present to participate and benefit from the seminar. Every absence in excess of two will result in the lowering of the students course grade by a letter grade. There is no final written examination for this course and therefore, as per University policy, during the scheduled exam period for this course (Friday, December 12, 2003 from 8:00AM-10:00AM), we will meet for one hour from 9:00AM-10:00AM.


Since this is a single credit course, the workload will be proportionate. The assignments of the course will be designed so that they can be completed in the hour of class meeting and an estimated single hour of homework per week. Student work will be examined for correctness, generality, and evidence of insight into mathematical ideas.


Course grades will be based on the student's participation in the seminar and their graded written homework. I keep a record of students' homework scores and of their class participation. Students should also keep an individual record of graded assignments. The course letter grades will be calculated as follows.

90-100 A
80-89 B
70-79 C
60-69 D
0-59 F

Inclement Weather Policy:

If we should miss a class day due to a school closing because of weather, any activities planned for that missed day will take place the next time the class meets. For example, if a test is scheduled for a day that class is canceled on account of snow, the test will be given the next time the class meets.

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