The participation component of your grade is really a
grab bag of things that are neither usual homework assignments (problem sets)
nor tests. Some of these will result in items that are handed in as a record
of your participation and will count toward your participation grade.
Other items will not produce such paper trails, but it is possible that I
may adjust your grade (up or down) if you stand out as being particularly
participative or non-participative in these activities.
In particular, active participation in this course entails:
- Reading the text.
Reading a math text is not like reading most other kinds of texts,
and for some of you, it may require some practice to get better at
it. When reading the text, try to do the following:
Mathematics uses English (or some other natural language), so
reading skills you have developed in other courses will be useful
here too. Pay particular attention to beginnings, endings and
transitions. This is where the authors will be outlining what
they have set out to do, what is important or interesting about it,
or how they would like you to think about it. You might like
to start by reading the beginning, the ending and the section
headers, and then go back and fill in the details.
- Write! Have some paper handy so that you
can draw pictures, try out examples, jot down notes
and questions, etc.
Try to figure out where things are going. Why is the author
interested in the current example? Why now? Could it have
been done last week? Could we have waited until next week?
Try to guess how things might work out and compare your
intuition with the way things end up being. Try to guess
what might be in the next section, the next chapter; then
look ahead and see what's there.
At the end of a section, see if you can say in a sentence or
two what the main point of the section was. If the section
includes a series of examples, look back over them to see
how they are different and how they are similar.
- Doing other assigned readings.
Occassionally I will assign readings that are not
from the text. These might be accompanied by
questions for you to think about or to answer in writing.
- Coming to class prepared.
This includes both
coming AND preparing. Coming is
self-explanatory. Preparation for class includes:
doing any required reading (see above), and beging prepared to discuss it or
ask questions about it;
bringing appropriate materials with you (text book, notes,
homework, calculator, etc. as appropriate);
have questions prepared so that you can ask them quickly and clearly
(you might like to jot them down so that you
can remember them easily at the proper time);
getting enough sleep. (No, I won't be grading you on how much sleep you
get, but you will do better if you are alert enough to think when you come
Participating in Class Activities.
Sometimes I will use class time to have you work in a small group on
something. You are responsible for making the most of this time by
staying "on task". Sometimes group work will result in something being
turned in (by the group).
Occassionally I may also ask you to collect data of some sort and bring
the data to class, or report on it some other way.
Watching for Mathematics.
If you come across an interesting article (in a paper, magazine,
journal, etc.) that uses or mentions or relates to mathematics,
or if you discover a connection to your other courses or your major,
or it you just have a question about such connections,
please bring it to my attention.
If you provide me with such materials, please include a full bibliography
reference and your name (both written on the back of
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