Math 110: Mathematical Reasoning

Prof. Ross

Summer (May/June) 2014

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Course: Basic Information

Note: this syllabus is temporary, and may change up to the first day of class.
This version posted on: 2014-05-01

Official Course Catalog Entry

An introduction to quantitative reasoning, with the aim of developing the capacity to comprehend and analyze the quantitative information that is prevalent in modern society. Topics include mathematical modeling, basic probability and statistics, and practical applications.


Placement or at least C in Math 098 or Math 098b, or at least D- in any of Math 104, 105, 107, 109, 112

Math 110 is one of the math courses that fulfills the General Education requirement for mathematical reasoning, in many cases. It also fulfills prerequisites for courses in Chem, CompSci, Econ, and Psych, among others.

Very important notice

This course should NOT be taken by a student who intends to major in Elementary Education or in Special Education-Elementary. If you are not certain whether you should be taking this course, talk to an advisor.

Class Meetings

Brief schedule overview: 3 credit hours.

Class meetings will be mostly interactive lectures, with some time to work on problems in class, and some time to go over problems from the homework. Some class sessions will meet in a computer lab or use a cartful of laptops. Exams will also be held during class meetings.

I expect that you will work on Math 110 for 6 to 10 hours per week outside of class during a regular (Fall/Winter) semester, and twice that during the shortened Summer semester.

Instructor information

Professor Andrew Ross
Pray-Harrold 515m
(734) 487-1658, but I strongly prefer e-mail instead of phone contact.
Math department main office: Pray-Harrold 515, (734) 487-1444

Office Hours and other help

Here is my complete schedule.
 10:00-10:30 Office hours
 10:30-12:15 Math 110, in Pray-Harrold 304
 12:15- 1:00 Office hours and lunch
  1:00- 2:50 Math 319, in Pray-Harrold 503
  2:50- 4:00 Office hours
  No official office hours, but I'm often on campus.
  E-mail me to make an appointment, or drop by.

I am also happy to make appointments if you cannot come to the general office hours. Please send me e-mail to arrange an appointment.

The Mathematics Student Services Center (or "Math Lab") is also here to help you, in Pray-Harrold 411. Their hours are posted here. Please give them a call at 734-487-0983 or just drop by.

Another resource on campus is the Holman Success Center, formerly the Holman Learning Center.

Required materials

  1. "Quantitative Reasoning in Mathematics" Course Pack (dated 2013-2014) by Ahlbrandt, Calin, Curran, Gardiner, and Ross. ISBN-13: 978-0-7380-6241-9 I strongly recommend you buy this year's version, not previous year's--many changes have been made.
  2. Scientific Calculator. Bring it to class each day. A good example is the TI-30X-IIS calculator ($15-$20). It does not have to be a graphing calculator, but the TI-83plus graphing calculator is recommended. Cell-phone calculators are not allowed on quizzes or tests.
  3. Microsoft Excel, or other spreadsheet software such as MS Works or Gnumeric or Calc or Google Docs.

Course Web Page(s)

I will post data files, homework assignment files, etc. on my home page.

We will use the EMU-Online system (click here to access it, or go through You are expected to keep an eye on your scores using the system, and get extra help if your scores indicate the need.

We will also use EMU-Online to do some homework assignments and to upload other homework assignments.

Optional Materials

  1. Graphing Calculator Manual for TI-83plus and TI-86 (ISBN: 0534-379001)
  2. In past years, we have used other textbooks for this course; some people may like to read them in addition to our current textbook. They are: You may also enjoy "How to Lie with Statistics", by Darrell Huff, and "200% of Nothing" by A.K. Dewdney

Course Goals

Upon completing the course, students should be able to: Math 110 qualifies as a Quantitative Reasoning course for almost everyone. The QR outcomes defined by the General Education program are:
(short form): Students will learn to solve real-life problems using a mathematical modeling process. They will learn to:
  1. Build an appropriate model.
  2. Use the model to solve the problem.
  3. Communicate the results of their analysis.
  4. Evaluate the model.
(full version): Students will learn to solve real-life problems using a mathematical modeling process. They will learn to:
  1. Build an appropriate model.
    1. Estimate an answer to the problem.
    2. Identify important components of the model.
    3. Collect or generate appropriate data.
    4. Analyze the situation using arithmetic, geometric, algebraic, and probabilistic or statistical methods.
  2. Use the model to solve the problem.
    1. Propose a solution.
    2. Evaluate the reasonableness of the solution.
  3. Communicate the results of their analysis.
    1. Share the findings in oral or written reports using appropriate mathematical language.
    2. Write summaries to explain how they reached their conclusions.
    3. Communicate quantitative relationships using symbols, equations, graphs, and tables.
  4. Evaluate the model.
    1. Draw other inferences from the model.
    2. Identify the assumptions of the model.
    3. Discuss the limitations of the model.

General Education

General Education rationale: This course will provide students with ways to approach the quantitative information that they are certain to encounter in later coursework at Eastern Michigan University, throughout their careers, and in daily life. The emphasis is on learning methods for comprehending, analyzing and using quantitative information and on techniques for using data to inform decisions about real world events and problems. For these reasons, MATH 110 will count for the Quantitative Reasoning requirement in the General Education program Education for Participation in the Global Community. Very important notice This course should NOT be taken by a student who intends to major in Elementary Education or in Special Education—Elementary. If you are not certain whether you should be taking this course, talk to an advisor.

Grading Policies

Your grade will be computed from a weighted average, with the following components: Some homeworks and worksheets might be graded as credit/no credit instead of graded in detail. These credit/no-credit assignments will make up 20% of your grade, while graded-in-detail assignments will be 30%, totaling the 50% mentioned above for homework, in-class work, etc.

Final course grades will be assigned as follows:
90+ is an A,
85-89.999 is an A-
80-84.999 is a B+
75-79.999 is a B
70-74.999 is a B-
65-69.999 is a C+
60-64.999 is a C
55-59.999 is a C-
50-54.999 is a D+
45-49.999 is a D
40-44.999 is a D-
below 40 is a failing grade.

Note that there are about 17 homework assignments/worksheets, and homework all together is worth 50 percent of your grade. So, each assignment or worksheet is worth about 3 percent of your grade. Missing two can knock you from an A to an A-, or an A- to a B+, etc.

Or, put it this way: if you paid about $1000 to take this course, each homework is worth about $30. So not turning in a homework is like taking a $10 and a $20 out of your wallet and burning them--and that's just the immediate effect, not including doing worse on the tests, and increasing the chances you might have to take the whole course again.

Similarly, we have about 28 class meetings this semester. So, you are paying about $36 per class meeting--miss one, and you might as well burn two $20 bills.


Regular attendance is strongly recommended. There will be material presented in class that is not in the textbook, yet will be required on the exams. Similarly, there are things in the textbook that are might not be covered in class, but are still required on the homework and exams. If you must miss a class, arrange to get a copy of the notes from someone, and arrange for someone to ask your questions for you.

My lectures and discussions mostly use the chalkboard. I do not usually have PowerPoint-like presentations, and thus cannot hand out copies of slides.


Sometimes we may have work that is assigned but not collected. Even if homework or worksheets are not collected, you are responsible for learning it--it could be on the tests!


Our project this semester will be a role-playing game where we pretend that it is 1935 and we are members of the US House of Representatives. You will stand up and make short speeches to persuade your fellow Representatives to vote for what you want included (or not included) in the new Social Security law, using cost estimates that you derive as your main line of reasoning.


The final will be comprehensive, with a special emphasis on any material not covered by the midterm exam(s).

You might be assigned seats while exams are in progress. No extra time will be given for late arrivals to exams. During the exam, all electronic equipment other than your calculator should be put away. Remember, calculators embedded in cell phones are not allowed.

Do not purchase any airline tickets to depart before the final exam. Be sure to allow enough time to get to the airport, etc. You will not be allowed to "take the exam early because you have already purchased a non-refundable airline ticket". See above for the final exam schedules.

Overall Grades

No scores will be dropped, unless a valid medical excuse with evidence is given (subject to the school's H1N1 Flu policy). In the unfortunate event of a medical need, the instructor will decide between a make-up being given or the grade being dropped, or any appropriate other options. Even if a grade is dropped, you are strongly encouraged to still complete the relevant assignments or exams and consult with me during office hours to ensure you know the material.

General Caveat

The instructor reserves the right to make changes to this syllabus throughout the semester. Notification will be given in class or by e-mail or both. If you miss class, it is your responsibility to find out about syllabus and schedule changes, especially the dates and times of exams.

Advice from Other Math 110 Students

In the last two semesters, I've asked my Math 110 students to give advice to you, future Math 110 students, based on their experiences in my course. Here are some of the highlights:

Standard University Policies

Religious Holy Days

Current University policy recognizes the rights of students to observe religious holidays without penalty to the student. Students will provide advance notice to the instructor in order to make up work, including examinations, they miss as a result of their absence from class due to observance of religious holidays. If satisfactory arrangements cannot be made with the instructor, the student may appeal to the school director or head(s) of department(s) in which the course(s) is / are offered.

Academic Honesty

Academic dishonesty, including all forms of cheating, falsification, and/or plagiarism, will not be tolerated in this course. Penalties for an act of academic dishonesty may range from receiving a failing grade for a particular assignment to receiving a failing grade for the entire course. In addition, you may be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards for discipline that can result in either a suspension or permanent dismissal. The Student Conduct Code contains detailed definitions of what constitutes academic dishonesty but if you are not sure about whether something you are doing would be considered academic dishonesty, consult with the course instructor. You may access the Code online at:

Classroom Behavior

Students are expected to abide by the Student Conduct Code and assist in creating an environment that is conducive to learning and protects the rights of all members of the University Community. Incivility and disruptive behavior will not be tolerated and may result in a request to leave class and referral to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (SJS) for discipline. Examples of inappropriate classroom conduct include repeatedly arriving late to class, using a mobile/cellular phone while in the class session, or talking while others are speaking. You may access the Code online at

Those who use laptops during class should sit in the back row if possible, to avoid distracting others with what is on their screens.

Special Needs Accomodations

If you wish to be accommodated for your disability, EMU Board of Regents Policy 8.3 requires that you first register with the Disability Resource Center (DRC) in 240K EMU Student Center. You may contact DRC by telephone (734.487.2470). Students with disabilities are encouraged to register with the DRC promptly as you will only be accommodated from the date you register with them forward. No retroactive accommodations are possible.

Student and Exchange VISitors (SEVIS)

The Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) requires F and J students to report the following to the Office of International Students 244 EMU Student Center within ten (10) days of the event: Prior permission from OIS is needed for the following: Failure to report may result in the termination of your SEVIS record and even arrest and deportation. If you have questions or concerns, contact the Office of International Students at 734.487.3116, not the course instructor.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a Federal law designated to protect the privacy of a student's education records and academic work. The law applies to all schools and universities which receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education and is applicable to students at EMU. All files, records, and academic work completed within this course are considered educational records and are protected under FERPA. It is your right, as a student in this course, to expect that any materials you submit in this course, as well as your name and other identifying information, will not be viewable by guests or other individuals permitted access to the course. The exception will be only when you have given explicit, written, signed consent. Verbal consent or email is insufficient.