Professor Hlas

hlascs (@) uwec.edu

Drop-in times

*It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.* (Douglas Adams)

This course is designed to provide the strategies needed to approach any problem in a variety of disciplines and contexts. This goal will be achieved by:

**Strategy focus**– Implicit strategies and representations for solving mathematics problems will be made explicit.**Group work**– Working in groups provides insight into different ways of thinking than your own. This will be beneficial for discovering multiple solutions to any problem.**Communication**– The ability to solve a problem is largely meaningless if you cannot convince another person of the solution. Everyone will be expected to share strategies and clearly explain solutions.

This course helps students meet the following Liberal Education Learning Outcome(s):

- S3. Create original work, perform original work, or interpret the work of others.

(This outcome will be assessed by the Math Retreat presentation.)

More course information is available on Canvas.

- Daily problems presented on board
- Homework approximately every two weeks
- One presentation at Math Retreat
- Three exams

*Crossing the river with dogs: Problem solving for college students*(Johnson, Herr, & Kysh, 2004). ISBN: 1-931914-14-1.

Important: the book is used almost daily so please bring to class!- A calculator is recommended, but not required. Calculators with internet connections (e.g. cell phones) will not be allowed on exams.

*How to solve it: A new aspect of mathematical method*(Polya, 1945)- Effect of randomized homework contingencies on college students' daily homework and unit exam performance (Galyon et al., 2015)

- Active learning: Mathematics is not a spectator sport so requires practice with immediate feedback (2020, 2019a, 2019b, 2013, 2006). See extra practice activities for each day on the class schedule.
- Self-testing (flash cards, low-stakes quizzes, study groups, creating sample exam questions, etc.) is a form of active learning that engages the brain more than other forms of practice (2021, 2020, 2017, 2016, 2014, 2013*, 2009).
- Avoid procedural shortcuts (Nix the Tricks)
- Hand writing on paper leads to more brain activity (2021, 2020, 2011). Also see Feyneman's note strategy for note-taking tips.
- Reducing math/test anxiety (2020, 2004, n.d., ERIC search)
- Belief in learning styles may be detrimental for learning because all people learn multiple ways, not just one (2021, 2019, 2009, n.d.)

Some problems will be difficult and solutions may be illusive. The only way to fail such a problem is to not attempt it. Students earn "math points" (MP) for demonstration of mathematical thinking in their solutions.

At the beginning of most classes, students will be expected to present solutions at the board. Opportunities to present will be given for in-class problems, alternate solutions to board problems, and ungraded homework.

Individual presentations are scored based on completion. The first presentation is worth 1 MP, the second worth 2 MP, and so on. Presentations past the fifth are worth +1 MP bonus.

Homework assignments will generally be five questions, two of which will be randomly selected for grading. See homework scoring for more information regarding homework expectations.

Groups of 1-4 students will select and present a "new" problem during Math Retreat. Details regarding this presentation will be discussed after the first exam.

"To assess conceptual knowledge, researchers often use novel tasks … Because children do not already know a procedure for solving the task, they must rely on their knowledge of relevant concepts to generate methods for solving the problems." (Rittle-Johnson, Seigler, Alibali, 2001, p. 347). Assessments are a part of the learning experience so will require mastery of class material and will require the ability to apply class material to *new* situations.

There will be two in-class exams and a final exam. Each exam focuses on more recent material, but mathematics is comprehensive so expect to see material from previous exams again.

One page of notes is allowed for each exam. Approved calculators will be allowed on all exams.

The highest exam score will be given +20% MP to allow for individual differences between students. This will be computed at the end of the semester.

**Email** is the best way to reach me. I typically respond within 24 hours, but do not check email in the evenings or on Saturdays due to family commitments.

**Attendance** A record of attendance is required by the University to maintain accurate class rosters. Attendance is not graded but poor attendance may impact participation in group activities.

**Absences** If you are absent, please check the course schedule then meet with me (drop-in hours, Zoom, or email) so I can make sure you are caught up. Authorized absences (school functions, emergencies or illness) may be made up for full credit. Other absences may be completed early for full credit, or late for 90% credit. Late work is expected to be completed within two weeks of the original due date or by the last day of classes, whichever occurs first.

**Entry-level switching** The Department of Mathematics allows students within entry-level mathematics courses (i.e., 010, 020, 104, 109, 112, 114, or 246) to move up to a higher numbered course during the first *two* weeks of a semester or move down during the first *three* weeks. Please contact the instructor for more details.

**Grading**

- Midterm grades are based on the percentage of points completed at the time of midterm submission.
- Final scores are rounded up to the nearest whole number to determine a final grade.
- Individual scores or grades will not be modified (unless there is a mistake) because they represent a student's progress in the class throughout the semester.

The **UW-Eau Claire Liberal Education (LE) Core** curriculum serves as a strong foundation for all of our academic programs. Our LE Core embodies the Power of [AND] in its design. It has been developed to ensure that you acquire the knowledge AND skills AND responsibility that you will need to actively engage in a global society. Through meeting the requirements of the LE Core you will develop the ability to think critically, creatively and independently. You will learn to integrate and apply your knowledge and develop values essential to becoming a constructive global citizen. The outcomes will empower you and prepare you to deal with complexity, diversity, and change in multiple settings. They will also develop highly marketable skills and lead to life-long learning and civic engagement (see LE Learning Outcomes and Rubrics).

**Student Accommodations** Any student who has a disability and is in need of classroom accommodations should contact the instructor and the Services for Students with Disabilities Office in Centennial Hall 2106 at the beginning of the semester.

**Academic Integrity** Any academic misconduct in this course will be submitted to the Dean of Students.

**Mandatory Reporter** As a Wisconsin State employee, the instructor is obligated to report any crimes to the Dean of Students, including claims of sexual harassment or sexual assault. The Dean of Students office may reach out to you to offer resources and support.

**Community** As members of this class we are members of a learning community that values all people with all backgrounds. Please remember that our words and actions affect everyone within our community and remember a little positivity can go a long way.