Math 120 section 2: Calculus I

Prof. Ross

Fall Semester 2012

Basic Information

Note: this syllabus is temporary, and may change up to the first day of class.
This version posted on: 2012-08-31

Official Course Catalog Entry

Calculus of functions of a single variable; differential calculus, including limits, derivatives, techniques of differentiation, the mean value theorem and applications of differentiation to graphing, optimization and rates. Integral calculus, including indefinite integrals, the definite integral, the fundamental theorem of integral calculus, and applications of integration to area and volume.

General Education rationale

MATH 120 is an introductory four credit course in calculus. Students in this course will develop the mathematical skills associated with the core topics of limits, derivatives and integration, and learn the wider context for these skills within the mathematical sciences. In a unified fashion, the course makes the case for using functions to model physical phenomena and simultaneously teaches methods to analyze these functions in a meaningful way. Applications of calculus abound in the physical and life sciences and, increasingly, in social sciences like economics as well. It is the theoretical engine that is used in these client disciplines when it comes time to reason in a quantitative way. For these reasons, MATH 120 will count for the Quantitative Reasoning requirement in the General Education program Education for Participation in the Global Community.

Very important notice

This course does not automatically count as a QR course for every student who takes it. If you plan to count this course for your QR requirement, it is essential that you check with an advisor to see if it will count for you before taking the course. It is your responsibility to check and follow the rules. No exceptions can be made. For more information go to


Placement or (at least a C in any of the following group of courses: (MATH 105 and MATH 107) or in (MATH 112) or in (MATH 210 and MATH 107))

Related Courses

For math majors and physics majors (but not math-education majors), I recommend that you take Computer Science (COSC) 120: Matlab Programming as soon as you can. Calc I isn't even a prerequisite--you could take them together if they are offered the same semester. For those who are going farther in the calculus sequence, I STRONGLY recommend that you sign up for Math 121 (Calculus II) as soon as possible after Calc I, and then Calc III the semester after that. Calculus is sort of like a language, and if you skip it for a semester, your skills will decay. Also, take Math 122 (Linear Algebra) as soon as you can, since it is a prerequisite for Calc III. You could even take it simultaneously with Calc I.

Class Meetings

Section 2, CRN 12055: Mon/Tue/Wed/Thu 11:00-11:50 in Pray-Harrold 323 Brief schedule overview: 4 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 120 for 8 to 12 hours per week outside of class.

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.
	 9:00- 9:30 Office Hours
	 9:30-10:45 Math 319 in PH 520
	11:00-11:50 Math 120 in PH 323
	11:50-12:30 Office Hours (Mon not Wed), and lunch
	12:30- 1:45 Math 110-14 in Sill 204c (subject to room change) crn 12945
	 1:45- 2:30 Office hours
	 3:30- 4:30 Mondays: IFC meetings
	10:30-11:00 Office Hours
	11:00-11:50 Math 120 in PH 323
	11:50-12:30 Office Hours and lunch
	12:30- 1:45 Math 110-18 in PH 305 (subject to room change) crn 13325
	 1:45- 2:30 Office hours
	??	MCM meetings?
  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.

A good place to study, if the Math Lab doesn't suit you, is the Math Den, Pray-Harrold room 501.

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

Teaching philosophy, interests

I am a very applied mathematician. Applied, applied, applied. Not pure. Impure. I try to focus on real-world problems, rather than artificial drill problems (though I do recognize the need for some drill). My classes spend much more time on formulating problems (going from the real world to math notation and back) than on proving theorems. If you want the theoretical basis for anything we are discussing, please ask!

My general math interests are in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (IEOR). In particular, I do research in applied probability and queueing theory, the mathematics of predicting how long it takes to wait in line for service. You can learn more about this in Math 319 and 419 when I teach them. I also enjoy teaching about cost-minimizing/profit-maximizing methods called Non-Linear Programming (NLP) in Math 319 and Math 560.

I am a licensed amateur radio operator, and enjoy bringing aspects of electronics and the physics of sound/music into the classroom. You will see lots of sines and cosines in my classes, and exponentials/logarithms, but not much in the way of tangent, secant, etc.

Required materials

Our required text is chapters 1 through 5 of "Calculus, Early Transcendentals", 7th edition. by James Stewart published by Brooks/Cole, Cengage. There are three ways to get it:

Of course, buying more of the book at once saves money. However, there is no guarantee that you will use the same book for Calc II or Calc III--different professors use different books.

The textbook should be available at all the usual bookstores on and around campus. The library has a page about class textbooks that includes bookstore addresses.

Reading a math textbook takes certain skills! Here are some guides:

Many students find it useful to have a graphing calculator, though it might possible to get through the class without one. A TI-Nspire is not required, but is allowed.

Course Web Page

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

We will use the EMU-Online system to record scores. You are expected to keep an eye on your scores using the system, and get extra help if your scores indicate the need.

We might also use an on-line homework system.

Supplementary Materials

Course Content

The Quantitative Reasoning (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.

Chapters and Topics:
Chapter 1. Functions and Models (all sections) ≈ 1 week Review of precalculus, while introducing the graphical and numerical as well as the analytic approach to studying functions.
Chapter 2. Limits and Derivatives (2.1- 2.3 and 2.5 - 2.7) ≈ 2 weeks Introduces differential calculus, the tangent and velocity problems, limits, and continuity SOHCAHTOA
Chapter 3. Differentiation Rules (3.1 - 3.10) ≈ 3 weeks Standard differentiation rules: power rule, product, quotient, and chain rules. Derivatives of exponential, logarithmic and trig functions as well as implicit differentiation and derivatives of inverse trig functions
Chapter 4. Applications of Differentiation (4.1 – 4.7 and 4.9) (4.8 optional) ≈ 3 weeks Optimization problems, mean values theorem, L’Hospital’s rule, curve sketching, anti-derivatives
Chapter 5. Integrals (all sections) ≈ 2 weeks Integrals both geometrically and as limits of Riemann sums, Fundamental Theorem of Calculus, indefinite integrals, substitution.

Grading Policies


Regular attendance is strongly recommended. There will be material presented in class that is not in the textbook, yet will be very useful. Similarly, there are things in the textbook that are might not be covered in class, but are still very useful. 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, along with demonstrations in Excel and other mathematical software. I do not usually have PowerPoint-like presentations, and thus cannot hand out copies of slides.


Homework will be assigned just about every day. We may be using an on-line homework system like MapleTA or WeBWoRK.


We might have short quizzes. Some of these might be announced; others might be unannounced.


The dates of mid-semester exams shown above are temporary, but will be fixed during the first week of class. The final exam will be cumulative.

Overall Grades

No scores will be dropped by default, unless a valid excuse (possibly with evidence) is given. In the unfortunate event of a need, the appropriate grade or grades may be dropped entirely (at the professor's discretion), rather than giving a make-up. You are highly encouraged to still complete the relevant assignments and consult with me during office hours to ensure you know the material.

Your overall score will be computed as follows:

Some homeworks and worksheets might be graded as credit/no credit instead of graded in detail. These homeworks might then be counted as only half of a graded-in-detail homework.

Notice that there are about 40 homeworks, so each is worth about 1.25 percentage points on your grade. This means that missing one homework can easily move you from an A to an A-, or a B to a B-, etc, and missing two will DEFINITELY knock you down!

Or, put it this way: if you paid about $1000 to take this course, each homework is worth about $25. So not turning in a homework is like taking a $5 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 56 class meetings this semester. So, you are paying about $18 per class meeting--miss one, and you might as well burn a $20 bill.

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 due dates and times of various work.

Advice from Other Calculus Students

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

Advice from Research on How Students Learn

From the book "Learning and Motivation in the Postsecondary Classroom" by Marilla D. Svinicki: "researchers have demonstrated that students who are initially allowed to generate their own ideas about a problem before they receive a lecture on it better understand the concepts behind the problem than students who are simply told what those concepts are." What does this mean for you in this class? Most of the time, after the first class meeting about a new section of the book, I will want you to try the homework that night and ask questions during the next class meeting, then you have the night after that to finish up the homework and turn it in at the start of the next class meeting. There is a temptation to not try it the first night, and just sit and try to absorb information about the problems from the discussion the next day. The research cited above says this is not good for your learning.

Also, "students who learn to monitor their own understanding and take steps to modify their thinking in light of that monitoring become much better problem solvers in the long run." I almost always want you to check your work by comparing to sensible upper and lower bounds, guesses, etc., or by taking a derivative to check an integral formula you just found. This way, you are monitoring how well you can do the problems in real-time, without having to wait for feedback from me grading your paper. The research I just mentioned shows that this makes you a better problem solver. AND, you get more credit because you can fix the problems you find you got wrong, even before turning it in!

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.