Math 35

Fall 2004


Professor Ben Ford

Office: Schulz cubicle farm #41

Phone: 664-2472


Text: Tussy and Gustafson – Elementary and Intermediate Algebra, Second Edition

Class times: Tuesday and Thursday, 8:00-9:50, Darwin 122

Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 9:50-10:30 (Darwin 122, our classroom); by discovery; or by appointment. Please come to office hours if you have any questions about the course material or your progress.

Cell phones should be off (not just put in silent mode) during class.

Tentative schedule, homework, and grading

What's this course all about?

We're going to work on many concepts of early algebra, including some background in fractions that is often a stumbling block for students. Our goal is to become fluent in algebraic manipulations, to allow you to succeed in later courses which count on your algebra skills.

Why Algebra?

From (by David Molina): “Algebra crops up over and over in everyday life and in an increasing number of jobs, requiring radically new ways of teaching and thinking about the subject.

“In its most common form, algebra is just an extension of the number system. For example, algebraic formulas often describe how one quantity depends on another. Determining gas mileage, predicting the amount of food needed for a party, and figuring the costs of renting videos are all examples of daily situations that require algebra.

“Not every student needs to be able to derive the quadratic formula. But all should understand how a change in one quantity affects another and how to make decisions based on these relationships. In this sense, every student needs to master algebra.

“Learning how to read, write, and do arithmetic may seem more important than learning algebra. But a lack of algebraic understanding can be just as debilitating as deficiencies in reading or arithmetic when ... trying for a good job.”

Course particulars

CALCULATOR policy: Calculators are not to be used in this course. While they are valuable tools in many endeavors, they won't help you learn the concepts we'll be studying.

ASSIGNMENTS: Homework will be assigned at the end of each class meeting. Keep all homework in a loose leaf binder. Indicate page of the text at the top of each page. A completely worked solution presented is expected. When drawing graphs use graph paper and a straightedge.

QUIZZES will be given on a regular basis. They will include problems from your homework as well as other problems. You will be allowed to use your homework binder to answer questions on the quizzes. So it is important that the homework binder is kept up to date. The quizzes cannot be made up but you will be allowed to drop at least two of your lowest scores. A completely worked solution neatly and legibly presented is expected.

The weekly quizzes will include problems based on prior weeks' material. The quizzes will take either of the following two forms:

Form 1: You will be allowed to use your text homework binder to answer questions on FORM 1 quizzes. These quizzes will consist of two parts. The first part will consist of two or three problems taken directly from your homework notebook. The second part will consist of  problems 'similar' to homework problems. You will be allowed to use your text homework notebook to answer questions on both parts of the quiz.  So it is important that the binder, i.e. homework, is kept up to date.

Form 2: These quizzes will be closed book and will be similar to the homework problems. They will be unannounced and you will not be allowed to use your homework notebook for these quizzes.

EXAMS cannot be made up. You may replace your lowest exam score with your Final exam score. The Final is cumulative and must be taken. A completely worked solution neatly and legibly presented is expected.


Math Study Lab: Learning Skills Services and the Tutorial Program are co-sponsoring a Math 35 Study Lab for this semester. It will be Mondays 2-4 p.m. and Thursdays 10 a.m. – noon. First meeting is Thursday, September 2 in Salazar 1040. I highly recommend that you take advantage of this free service! You can just drop in on the occasions when you can make it.

ELM: If you feel that you are in Math 35 only because of a bad test day – in other words, you believe you already know the material or could pass the ELM with a little more studying – you can take it again during the semester (October 9 and December 4). The web site has some information on the test (including description of the content of the test, under “Focus on Math” link), and is where you go to register. There is an $18 fee to take the test. If you take the October 9 test and bring me your score reporting showing a passing score prior to the final exam, then you don't have to take the final and you will receive a C for this course. If you pass either October 9 or December 4, then you won't have to take Math 45 in the Spring and can proceed directly to the GE math course of your choice.

Online resources: The California State University has a new website at to help you if you want to take the ELM. This site has a practice test, and additional practice problems, for you to work on. If you want to do additional work to prepare, the ALEKS ELM tutorial which you can purchase for $35 through this site is a great deal. ALEKS also has a beginning algebra module, and you can use that for the same $35 fee – the fee buys you an 18-week license to use all of ALEKS. You can learn more about ALEKS, and try it out before you buy, at

M*A*T*H Colloquium: This is our weekly lecture on various mathematical topics. The September 8 lecture will be particularly relevant for some of us. 5 extra credit quiz points if you attend and give me a 1-page writeup about the talk and what you learned.