Mathematics 165, Concepts of the Number System
Fall 2003 Syllabus

(12/17/03) Final grades posted. Happy holidays!

Time. Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:35 - 1:50.
Place. 425 Thornton Hall

Instructor. Eric Hsu (, 932 Thornton Hall, 415-338-1104. Sporadically on AOL IM at the name EricHsuSFSU.

Office Hours. Tuesday 2-3, Thursday 11:30-12:30 and by appointment.

Class Home Page. <> Announcements, homework assignments, test schedules, grades and this syllabus are all posted here.

Course Objectives.

  • Help you learn and explore the number strand for the elementary curriculum.
  • Help you communicate with others about mathematics.
  • Help you see math as interesting and relevant.
  • Help you see yourself as capable of learning mathematics and solving mathematical problems on your own.
  • Introduce you to materials to teach content in the number strand to elementary school students.
  • Convince you that math is not a bunch of formulas to be memorized but problems to solve and patterns to find.

Textbook. None. There will be handouts in class.

Teaching Style and Attendance. About two-thirds of the time will be spent on activities in small groups. The other third will be lecture and discussion. Because of the emphasis on in-class activity, attendance is mandatory. Missing class without prior notice will cause damage to your academic experience, your grade, and may cause you to be dropped from the class roster.

Earning Points and Grades. There are a number of ways to earn points in the course:

  • Midterm (15%)
  • Final Exam (15%)
  • Homework (50%)
  • Projects (20%)
There is no curve, so the grades of your fellow students cannot affect your grade. You'll all be better off helping each other. Your grades will be posted to the class home page on a monthly basis.

Homework. Assignments will be given out on Thursdays and are due the next Thursday at the start of class. No late homework will accepted in any case. You are allowed and encouraged to work on the homework in groups, but you must write up the solutions in your own words or it will be considered cheating. Always include all your scratch paper; I like to give partial credit, but I need to point to some evidence of your work and thinking.

Tests. There will be one midterm and a comprehensive final exam. No makeups will be given without prior permission.

Projects.Your projects will be an investigation of some topic in mathematics. You will put together a learning station for your classmates. That is, you will bring to class an activity that can be put on a table and that will describe an activity for your classmates. You should not have to be present for your classmates to do the activity. They should learn some mathematics from doing the activity. You are encouraged to work with one or two other people on your project. You will all receive the same grade, unless the whole group feels that is unfair. I will give out some handouts with project ideas for the first project. You can get further ideas by looking through the math materials in the Cahill Learning Laboratory in Burk Hall 319. It is open from 1-6 Mondays through Thursdays.

New CR/NCR Procedures. Students opting for CR/NCR grading must log onto the web site and sign up for CR/NCR grading before October 22. CR/NCR sheets will not be passed out in class. Note that some majors, like Mathematics, do not accept CR/NCR grading, and that you should check with your advisors before selecting this option.

Withdrawal Deadline. Students wishing to withdraw from the course must do so before the withdrawal deadline of November 19. Late withdrawals are generally not accepted by the College of Science.

Disabilities Resource Center. Students with disabilities needing reasonable accommodations are encouraged to contact me. The Disability Programs and Resource Center (Student Services Building, Room 110, (415) 338-1041, is available to facilitate the reasonable accommodations process.

Religious Holidays. I will make reasonable accommodations for you to observe religious holidays when such observances require you to be absent from class activities. It is your responsibility to inform me during the first two weeks of the class each semester, in writing, about such holidays.