Math 121 Calculus I

Semester: Fall 2012

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Lecture 051
Inst : Dr. Asher Auel
auel AT cims*math*edu
Time : Mon Wed 8:00 - 9:15 am
Loct : 12WV G08
Office: WWH 519
Phone : 212-998-3136
hours :
Mon 02:00 - 03:00 pm
Wed 10:00 - 11:00 am
Text : Essential Calculus, Early Transcendentals 2nd ed
James Stewart
Brooks Cole, 2012. ISBN-13 978-1-133-11228-0.

We will also use WebAssign.

Try comparing these prices to the bookstore's.
Main course web site
Course syllabus
Your fabulous TA Mitch Bushuk!

Description of course: This course is about the foundations of calculus, which is essentially the study of functions and their rates of change. We want you to learn how to model situations in order to solve problems. If you have already taken calculus before, we want you to gain an even deeper understanding of the subject. The derivative measures the instantaneous rate of change of a function. The definite integral measures the total accumulation of a function over an interval. These two objects form the basis for nearly all mathematical formulas in science. The rules by which we can compute derivatives and integrals of any function are called a calculus. The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus links the two processes of differentiation and integration in a beautiful way.

Grades: Your final grades will be based on several components: homework (once/week), WebAssign (twice/week), quizes (four/semester), midterms (twice/semester), and a final exam. The grade breakdown can be found on the Math 121 website. Notice that more emphasis is placed on exams than on weekly homework assignments in computing your final grade. On the other hand, completing your homework on a weekly basis is the most sure way to success on the exams.
Group work, honestly: Working with other people on mathematics is highly encouraged and fun. You may work with anyone (e.g. other students in your section, in the course, not in the course, bums on the street, ...) on your homework problems. If done right, you'll learn the material better and more efficiently working in groups. The golden rule is:
Work with anyone on solving your homework problems,
but write up your final draft by yourself.
Writing up the final draft is as important a process as figuring out the problems on scratch paper with your friends, see the guidelines below. Mathematical writing is very idiosyncratic - we will be able to tell if papers have been copied - just don't do it! You will not learn by copying solutions from others! Also, if you work with people on a particular assignment, you must list your collaborators on the top of the first page. This makes the process fun, transparent, and honest.


(or otherwise the small print)

Homework: You will have a weekly written assignment, which will be due in recitation. The assignment will be posted on Blackboard the week before it's due.

{Late or improperly submitted homework will not be accepted.} Period. If you know in advance that you will be unable to submit your homework at the correct time and place, you must make special arrangements ahead of time (e.g.\ religious holidays or trapped on a desert island). Read more guidelines.

Your homework must be stapled, with your name clearly written on the top. Consider the pieces of paper you turn in as a final copy: written neatly and straight across the page, on clean paper, with nice margins and lots of space, and well organized. If it's not readable, it won't be graded. Your lowest homework score from the semester will be dropped.

Exams/quizzes: See the official policies on exams.

Homework guidelines: Generally, a homework problem in any math course will consist of two parts: the creative part and the write-up.

  • The creative part: This is when you "solve" the problem. You stare at it, poke at it, and work on it until you understand what's being asked, and then try different ideas until you find something that works. This part is fun to do with your friends; you can do it on the back of a napkin. If you're having trouble, even in understanding what the problem's asking, use the resources available to you: my office hours, teaching assistants' office hours, weekly tutoring sessions, etc. Ask for help as early as you can! This part should all be done on "scratch paper."

  • The write-up: Now that everything about the problem is clear in your mind, you go off by yourself and write up a coherent, succinct, and nicely written solution on clean sheets of paper. Consider this your final draft, just as in any other course. This part you should definitely NOT do with your friends.

Please note that a fully correct solution requires both parts: having "figured out" the problem, but not having written it up (or having written up something incoherent that does not express what you know) or conversely, having written up many pages of beautiful prose that still fail to solve the problem, don't count for very much. You will be graded accordingly.