Math 103 - Precalculus - Fall 2015

General Information:

Meeting Dates & Time:Sept 21 - Dec 4, MW 3:30 - 5:20 PM
Location: Jones 301
Instructor:Ryan Vinroot
Office: Jones 130
Office Hours: MW 11-12, Th 10-11 and 1-4:30 (also by appt).
Materials: The only material you need to obtain for this class is the book Transitioning to Calculus, by Lawrence Leemis. This should be available at Amazon or other stores online.
Class Participation - 20%, Homework/Quizzes - 30%, Midterm - 25%, Final - 25% (See below for more precise information on HW, Quizzes, Midterm, and Final).
The letter grade scheme will be based on the standard 10 percentage point scale, so that a final score of 93 or higher is an A, 90-92 is an A-, 87-89 is a B+, 83-86 is a B, 80-82 is a B-, 77-79 is a C+, 73-76 is a C, 70-72 is a C-, 67-69 is a D+, 63-66 is a D, 60-62 is a D-, and below 60 is an F.
Attendance & Lecture Policy: As stated above, 20% of your grade will be based on participation. Less than half of each meeting time will be devoted to lecture, while more than half will be devoted to working problems (from homework). This might involve discussion with others, working problems on the board, getting individual input from me, or working individually on the problems in the classroom. So, attendance will be essential.
Please keep all cell phones/hand-held devices/tablets/laptops put away during class time.
Calculator Policy: Calculators will NOT be needed for this class. The focus of the course will be conceptual rather than computational. In particular, calculators will not be allowed on the final exam, the midterm, the quizzes, or the homework.
Prerequisites: There is no official prerequisite. I will expect mathematical background to vary among students.
Course Summary: The main purpose of this course is to give you the essential tools in order to begin studying Calculus, and in particular Calculus at William & Mary. We will begin with some topics in Geometry, including the key concepts involving angles, triangles, circles, areas, and volumes. We will then move on to Algebra, beginning with lines and quadratics, including factoring and solving inequalities, and then move on to factoring polynomials in general. From there, we will move on to powers, exponentials, and logarithms. These topics will form the first half of the course, and the midterm will come right around when we finish these topics. For the second half, we will focus on trigonometry, and then graphing functions in general. If there is any time left, we might introduce the concept of a limit, which is exactly where Calculus starts.

Dates & Course Announcements:

Midterm and Final Exams:

There will be one midterm, which will take place during one lecture period (details will be determined later). The final exam will be timed. The midterm and the final will each count as 25% of your final grade. The final exam will be on Wed, Dec 9, from 9 AM until 12 Noon.

Exam Calendar (Tentative):
Exam Date Time/Due Location
Midterm Wed, Oct 28 In class Jones 301
Final Exam Wed, Dec 9 9 AM - 12 Noon Jones 301
  • All relevant announcements will be listed here. Check back frequently (don't forget to refresh your browser) for updates.
  • Important Dates and Class Holidays:
    • Fri, Sep 4: FIRST ADD/DROP DEADLINE (for those registering at the beginning of the semester).
    • Thurs, Oct 1: SECOND ADD/DROP DEADLINE (for those dropping a Calculus class to enroll in MATH 103).
    • Sat, Oct 10 - Tues, Oct 13: NO CLASS (Fall Break)
    • Wed, Oct 28 - Midterm (during class)
    • Wed, Nov 25 - Sun, Nov 29: NO CLASS (Thanksgiving Break)
    • Mon, Dec 9, 9:00 AM - 12 Noon - FINAL EXAM
  • (9/21) My office hours this week, and likely on a weekly basis, are: MW 11-12, Th 10-11 and 1-4:30.
  • (9/28) Quiz 1 will be on Monday, Oct 5, at the beginning of class. It will cover the geometry topics from the first week of class, and the material on lines and factoring quadratics from class on Mon, Sept 28.
  • (10/5) Corrected solutions to HW1B, Problem 5, have been posted. HW 2 solutions and Quiz 1 solutions will be posted immediately after class today. HW 3 is now posted, please print it and bring it to class on Monday if you can.
  • (10/8) Please note that HW3 is due on Wed, Oct 14, the Wednesday after Fall Break.
  • (10/8) Quiz 2 will be on Mon, Oct 19, and will cover the material from HW2B and HW3A,B (that is, the material from Sept 30, Oct 5, and Oct 7).
  • (10/14) My morning office hours on Thurs, Oct 15, will be shifted to 9:30-10:30 AM (instead of 10-11 AM). My afternoon office hours will be the same (1-4:30 PM).
  • (10/22) I fixed the typo on HW4C and posted the new version below. The error was in Problem 7, where I have changed the +5 to a -5.
  • (10/22) I will post the solutions to HW4C tomorrow (Fri, Oct 23). Also tomorrow, I will post a list of review problems for the midterm. I will email everyone when those are posted. Work on the review problems before class on Monday (Oct 26), and the whole class period that day will be for questions and to go over any problems anyone wants to see.
  • (11/9) Quiz 3 will be on this Wed, Nov 11, and will cover the material from HW5A,B (the material on functions and graphs covered on Nov 2 and Nov 4 in class).
  • (11/9) You may turn in corrections to your Midterm exam to replace a low HW or quiz score. These corrections should be turned in on or before Monday, Nov 30 (the Monday after Thanksgiving break) to receive this credit.
  • (11/18) Quiz 4 (the last quiz) will be on Mon, Nov 23. It will cover the trigonometry material from HW6A,B.
  • (11/19) I fixed two "typos" on the solutions to HW6A,B: One on problem A6 (the 3pi/4 should have been a 5pi/4 as pictured), and the other on problem B2(b) (denominator should have been sin^4(x)).
  • (12/2) I have updated a few of the Khan academy links (some of the web addresses changed since I first posted them), and I have posted Khan academy links for the last couple of topics that we covered.
  • (12/2) I have posted review problems for the final exam. I will post solutions, at the latest, on Mon, Dec 7.
  • (12/2) I fixed the typo on the Final Review problems on Problem 1(e).
  • (12/3) It has been confirmed that our final exam will be in the same room as our lectures, in Jones 301.
  • (12/3) My office hours before the final exam (other than my usual Thurs office hours today) are:
    Mon, Dec 7: 10-2 and 3-5
    Tues, Dec 8: 10-2 and 3-5:30
  • (12/3) I fixed one more minor error on the Final Review problems: On Problem 11 you need to know that the function g actually has an inverse, so I have put that in. I will post the solutions to the Review problems on Friday.
  • (12/8) I fixed a minor error in the Final Review Solutions: The A in front of cos(2yb) should have been -A in the solutions.

Homework & Quizzes:

There will be Homework assignments each week of class, which will typically be due on the following Monday in class. The goal will be to have more than half of each meeting time dedicated to working through problems, consisting mostly of the homework problems for that week. This will allow you to have more time outside of class to work through the problems in more detail and work through supplementary material.

I will post Homework assignments on this homepage each week. Be sure to print them out before each Monday class so that you have them to work on during the class meetings. When working through problems in class, you should be writing "rough draft" solutions to the problems and make sure you understand the main idea and method behind the problems. Outside of class, you should re-write the solutions neatly to turn in. Going through problems twice in two different levels of detail is hugely important in absorbing the material in a meaningful way.

Homework will typically be due on each Monday (except for weeks when there is no class on Monday). Homework will be due at the beginning of class, and if you are a few minutes late still please turn in the homework at the front of the room when you walk in. If homework is turned in the day it is due but after the start of class, there is a 10% penalty. If it is turned in one day late by 5 PM on my door, there is a 20% penalty, and 40% for two days late, and 20% more off each day late thereafter. However, even if you have a homework that is too late to count as points, it is still important to turn it in for part of your homework completion and participation score.

The plan is to have 4 timed quizzes throughout the semester: 2 before the midterm, and 2 between the midterm and final. These will be at the beginning of class, announced the week before the quiz, and will be 20 minutes in length. Each quiz will count the same as a single homework score. Quiz solutions will be posted on this homepage after the quiz.

For individual homework assignments, the score will be based on both correctness of solutions, as well as completeness/neatness. For example, on a 20 problem assignment, I would much rather see 15 neat and correct solutions, with 2 rough attempts at solutions, instead of 20 messy partial solutions. We will go over in class what is expected in terms of a complete and neat solution. For your total HW and Quiz score, each assignment and quiz has equal weight, and the lowest score of all of these will be dropped. The total score will count as 30% of the course grade.

Here is the example I handed out in class of some notes you might take on a problem versus the solution you might turn in when the homework is due: Example Problem (pdf).

Homework Assignments and Solutions:
Assignment Problems Due Date
1 HW 1A - pdf, HW 1B - pdf
Solutions: HW 1A, HW 1B.
Mon, Sept 28
2 HW 2(A,B) - pdf
Solutions: HW 2A,B.
Mon, Oct 5
3 HW 3(A,B) - pdf
Solutions: HW 3A,B.
Wed, Oct 14
4 HW 4A - pdf, HW 4B - pdf
Solutions: HW 4A,B.
Wed, Oct 21
HW 4C - pdf
Solutions: HW 4C.
Not Due
Midterm Review Problems - pdf
Solutions: pdf
Not Due
5 HW 5(A,B) - pdf
Solutions: HW 5A,B.
Mon, Nov 9
6 HW 6(A,B) - pdf
Solutions: HW 6A,B.
Mon, Nov 16
7 HW 7(A,B) - pdf
Solutions: HW 7A,B.
Mon, Nov 23
8 HW 8A - pdf, HW 8B - pdf
Solutions: HW 8A, HW 8B.
Not Due
Final Exam Review Problems - pdf
Solutions: pdf
Not Due

For each of the 4 quizzes this semester, you can get half of the points back lost on your first score by creating your own replacement problems and solving them. You can only get points back if you follow the following guidelines (pdf).

I will list the Quiz solutions here throughout the semester:
  • Quiz 1 solutions.
  • Quiz 2 solutions.
  • Quiz 3 solutions.
  • Quiz 4 solutions.

  • Resources: