Mr. Stark 2017-18
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Prerequisite: Algebra II - Trigonometry or equivalent.
Course Description: This course is intended to broaden and deepen your prior mathematical knowledge, and for those who wish to continue in mathematics, to provide prerequisite background for the study of Calculus.
Textbook: Precalculus by Demana et al. (7th ed.) (Replacement cost $100).
Grading: You should expect a quiz or a test about every two weeks, and a final exam each semester (I also reserve the right to pop an unannounced assessment at any time). Quizzes will make up about 30% of your grade, tests will contribute about 30%, and the final will count for another 20%. Homework and in-class work will make up the remaining 20%. Homework and class work will be graded for completion and effort rather than for correct content. I reserve the right to give negative homework credit for transgressions such as having an uncovered textbook. There will be no extra credit available.
Participation: Everyone is expected to participate actively in each class. This will include explaining problems to others, practice at the board, working in groups, and contributing to discussions. You will learn more and find more enjoyment in the course if you pitch in.
Student Expectations: This class may be different from other math classes you have taken. I do not believe in memorizing formulas, or teaching recipes for solving every problem you might encounter. I think understanding is easier, longer lasting, and more useful than memorization. I will teach you important concepts, and I will expect you to apply them to new situations and new problems. Your homework may require you to use a new concept in ways that were not explicitly done in class. Don't be surprised when that happens -- you will have the necessary tools but will have to think a bit about how to use them.
Calculators: You will need a graphing calculator. I have a small set of TI-83+ and -84+ units that are available for in-class use, but most students prefer to buy their favorite model. In-class demonstrations will typically be done on TI-83+/84+, -89, or Voyage 200 display units. I can also help with older TI models (-82, -85, -86, -92). If you have an older TI-Inspire, I suggest that you use the -84 emulator keyboard. I have recently acquried a TI Inspire CX CAS version, but I am not yet as familiar with it as with other models. Although you are free to use them, I am unfamiliar with and can't offer much help for less popular brands (e.g., HP, Casio, and Sharp).
Office Hours: I strongly encourage you to ask me for help promptly if you have trouble with the material. I am often available during third, sixth, and seventh period, plus brunch, for consultation (and always during tutorial), but it's best to ask me for an appointment or e-mail me to make arrangements to meet. I am usually not available before school.
Communications: I do NOT participate in School Loop. Messages you send to me through that system will go unread and unanswered. Instead, please send an ordinary e-mail to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Rely on this website and on in-class postings for your assignments, not on School Loop.
Absences: Missed quizzes or exams are to be made up on the first day of your return, or at my earliest convenience (the choice is mine). At my discretion, I may schedule a general make-up assessment for the semester, which may not correspond in scope to the content of the assessment(s) you missed, and may be weighted to count for all of your missed items. See me immediately when you return from an absence to make appropriate arrangements for missed work. If I discover that an absence for a test or quiz (or for a make-up opportunity) was unexcused, I will record a score of zero, and no make-up score will be counted, even if you have already taken a make-up.
Student Conduct: I ask your help in maintaining a pleasant atmosphere of mutual respect, maturity, and good humor. I insist on strict adherence to the FUHSD Academic Honesty Policy at all times, and if I encounter dishonesty, I will respond with maximum penalties, including full letter semester grade reductions, on the first offense. To discourage misconduct, I reserve the right to give no credit for any correct answer that lacks consistent, legible, and comprehensible supporting work. You will be asked to sign and agree to my test security policy when you enter my class.
School Rules: I actively enforce school rules. That means no food or drink in the classroom (not even water). Don't bring iPods, e-book readers, tablets, etc. to class, and be sure that your phone is off and put away at all times (the same goes for smart watches -- put them away). . If your cell phone rings in class, I will answer it and then confiscate the phone. I follow the District Board's dress code rules (AR 5132(a)); in practice, this means when in doubt, cover it up. I'd rather not see your new tattoos, body piercings, underwear, bare midriff, and so on.