Math 1010 and WRC 1010 Introduction to Mathematics
Dr. Sarah J. Greenwald
"We must prepare the next generation to be logical, flexible thinkers in a world that is increasingly complex and mathematical."

Required Resources

  • Heart of Mathematics available for rental
  • scientific calculator which can do powers (yx or xy or ^ symbol).
  • handouts (pick them up from my door or print them from the class webpages if you miss a class) and printouts of your work
  • 10-12 inch diameter child's ball - these are usually found in bins in stores and cost a couple of dollars. Be sure that this ball is smooth, can bounce, and that you will not mind writing on it during class.

    Where to Get Help

  • Office Hours 326 Walker Hall, 262-2363. Sometimes, if no one comes to office hours, I go down the hall to the mailroom, photocopy machine, or to talk to another professor. If I am not in my office during office hours, you should walk down the hall to look for me, and interrupt to tell me that you are there. I am always around and happy to help you during office hours unless otherwise posted to the webpage. You do not need to make an appointment to use office hours - just drop by! If you can't make office hours, contact me on ASULearn, which I'll try to answer at least once a day.
  • Check the main web page often (every couple of days and at least 3 times a week) for work due. This lists and explains readings, hw, projects and tests (ie it is a part of my syllabus).
  • ASULearn This is the easiest way to ask a mathematics question outside of class and office hours. You are responsible for reading all posts from me. I prefer that you use office hours since it is easier to discuss material in person, but if you cannot make them, then ASULearn is a great alternative. Do NOT email me (which gets buried in hundreds of messages each day) - message me instead as I usually check it every day including the weekends.
  • Walker Math Help.
  • You may wish to obtain a tutor through the Learning Assistance Program, but try my office hours first!


  • Effective Class Engagement 10% You must be prepared for each class and check the main web page regularly for hw. Practice problems, readings and videos are posted to the main webpage. Attendance is required. Effective engagement in our classroom community includes active listening to others as well as respectful and meaningful participation and a willingness to complete activities. This means that when we are doing a calculation or i-clicker question, you must also do this, and you are expected to take notes since the book does not contain everything you need to know. You will also create one video related to course material. These kinds of baseline activities will result in a grade of 7/10. Other activities can increase or decrease this grade. Utilizing office hours and ASULearn, asking and answering thought provoking questions, coming up with creative ways of thinking about the material, and explaining the material to others are some other examples of positive participation that will increase your grade. On the other hand, actions that illustrate you are not taking the class or the activities seriously or that detract from the professional classroom environment and distract others or me (I am very easily distracted) will count as a partial absence. Cell phones must be set to vibrate or turned off and they are not allowed on tests. No texting during class. Many activities and class discussions are designed to be completed during class. Thus, attendance is required at all classes, and will form a portion of your grade. If you must be late to a class, or must leave early, then do still attend. If there is some reason you must miss a class, like for an excused absence, then keep me informed, with any appropriate documentation, and obtain the assignment and class activities from the web pages to turn the work in early or on time (you can send it with another student to class, slide it under my office door sometime before I leave for class, or even turn it in on ASULearn if need be, but I prefer printed work). These include responses to i-clicker questions and other class activities.
  • Tests 50% There are 3 tests over the course of the semester with the lowest one dropped to accommodate for emergencies or other issues. No make-ups allowed.*
  • Projects 25% You will choose two projects (of the three options) to write up carefully by their respective due dates. You may complete more for extra participation credit, and your two highest grades will count. Research has shown that projects are extremely beneficial in learning and applying academic knowledge, so I'll ask everyone to do some related activities for homework, regardless of whether you choose to complete that entire project. No lates allowed *.
  • Research Presentation: Mathematical Breakthroughs 15% During our assigned final exam time. No make-ups allowed * and participation is mandatory to pass the class.
    * Accommodations in the determination of your final grade will be made for extenuating circumstances that are documented to prevent you from completing work early/on time. The grading scale is a ten point scale: A ≥93; 90≤ A- < 93; 87 ≤ B+ <90...

    Also see the University-wide syllabus and policy statements which we adhere to.

    I believe that each of you has the capability to succeed in this course. Since you were able to register for the class, you have somehow showed that you have the required algebraic skills, via placement test or other indicators. Yet, sometimes, in order to succeed, we must change certain behaviors, study habits, and/or emotional reactions. We'll see that everyone (including Dr. Sarah and other mathematicians) struggles with mathematics. Success in mathematics is not determined by whether it comes naturally or seems "clear". Instead, success in mathematics is all about learning to use mistakes and material we are struggling with in order to grow. You can obtain a passing grade in this class by satisfactorily completing your work and missing no more class then allowed as above. Most people who do so will receive an A, B, or C in the course. To obtain an A in this class, you must demonstrate deep understanding of the material. You should expect to put in the necessary time outside of class in order to complete homework and assignments on time.

    Course Description and Goals

    This section of MAT 1010 is designed for Watauga Residential College students and also for students who are not in Watauga. I have been teaching this type of blended course since 2001.

    You'll receive full general education quantitative literacy credit while developing a liberal arts appreciation of mathematics. While much of the class is similar to other Mat 1010s, it differs via an interdisciplinary and thematically linked format and a focus on local to global connections as you develop creative inquiry skills, research techniques, and communication skills. You'll also develop an appreciation of what mathematics is, has to offer, how it is useful, how it contributes to an understanding of truth and consequences, and the diverse ways that people can be successful and impact mathematics (including you!), as we study:
    Geometry of our Earth and Universe How we view the world around us and what it actually looks like.
    Personal Finance Interest formulas as they apply to the real world - credit cards, student loans, savings accounts, car and house purchases, taxes, retirement...
    Consumer Statistics To recognize misrepresentations of studies and statistical data in the real world by applying statistical techniques.
    What is Mathematics? To reflect more broadly about the course themes as we tie the segments together. You'll also become a mathematician with a topic you are interested in as your field of study. You will communicate your expertise in a research session that is modeled after poster presentations at science fairs and research day at Appalachian.

    Interdisciplinary: Each segment is explored through the lenses of numerous disciplines, which we will compare, contrast and connect to mathematical and statistical thinking. These include:
  • Geometry: art, astronomy, geography, history, mathematics, philosophy, physics, religion, statistics, visualization
  • Finance: business, economics, ethics, history, mathematics, philosophy, statistics
  • Statistics: ethics, communications, history, medicine, political science, psychology, sociology, visualization

    Thematically Linked Format: The segments are tied together through the following themes:
  • what mathematics is, what it has to offer and how it is useful
  • the diverse ways that people succeed in and impact mathematics
  • truth and consequences-what is truth? When are we convinced? What are the consequences of certain truths? What is the role of chance and probability?

    Local to Global Connections: We'll identify quantitative connections within local and global geographical regions, including:
  • Geometry: local: small piece of land; global: earth and universe
  • Financial economic indicators: local: individual and North Carolina; global: US and world
  • Statistics: local: personal and NC; global: US and world, such as "math gene" idea in US but not in Asia
    We'll also compare and contrast small-scale and large-scale mathematical regions, such as:
  • Geometry: local: Euclidean; global: earth and universe
  • Finance: local: simple interest; global: compound interest
  • Statistics: local: summary statistics; global: scatterplot

    Bulletin Description: A course in mathematical problem solving for students who are not required to take calculus. Emphasis is on the development of students' quantitative literacy and number sense rather than computational drill. Computational tools such as spreadsheets will be used to solve a variety of real world problems. All sections cover basic consumer statistics and probability, with additional topics drawn from a variety of fields such as art, music, finance, physical or biological science, geometry, cryptology, measurement, and election theory.

    QL Curricular Components:
  • Communicate quantitative ideas and concepts using a variety of representations, including numerical, graphical, and algebraic
  • Demonstrate number sense and recognize quantitatively reasonable and unreasonable solutions to problems
  • Recognize situations where quantitative methods can be used to model and solve problems, and employ appropriate tools (specifically technology) in formulating, analyzing and solving those problems
  • Recognize and draw upon connections between the mathematical sciences and other disciplines, and between the mathematical sciences and life experiences
  • Collect and interpret quantitative data in order to draw appropriate inferences, understand the role of chance in data collection and statistical inference, and question and validate assumptions.
  • Develop the ability to think critically and creatively about the relationship between local regions and global issues, processes, trends, and systems

    Learning Outcomes: We will communicate quantitative information, including graphs, tables, and mathematics and statistics formulas in written documents or presentations. This course poses almost every mathematical problem in a real-world context. In addition, many of the problems are open-ended, allowing for several paths to a solution. We will develop skills in recognizing patterns in mathematical information, and become logical, flexible, critical thinkers and problem solvers who thoughtfully consider the reasonableness of their solutions. We will develop skills in recognizing patterns and similarities in numerical, algebraic, and graphical representations and using those representations to solve real-world problems and employ technology such as spreadsheets, scientific calculators and graphing software, and statistical and mathematical programs. We will explore applications of mathematics and statistics in everyday life and examine course topics through a combination of theoretical derivations, problem solving and analysis, and real-life connections. We will compare and contrast small-scale and large-scale mathematical regions and identify benefits, limitations, similarities, differences, or connections in course discussions, assignments, exams, or projects. We will identify quantitative connections within local and global geographical regions and study similarities, differences, or connections during class homework, discussions, or activities.

    Where to Get Help and Additional Policies

    Do plenty of exercises or reflection until you are comfortable with the material - more than those that are assigned, if needed. As per the University-wide Statement on Student Engagement with Courses you can expect to spend (on average) 2-3 hours outside of class for each hour in class. As a general rule of thumb, on average, you can expect to spend about 3-5 hours outside of class per week reviewing material and class notes, 3-6 hours outside of class per week for homework assignments, and about 1 hour outside of class per week checking the course webpages. If you find that you are spending fewer hours than these guidelines suggest, you can probably improve your grade by studying more. If you are (on average) spending more hours than these guidelines suggest, you may be studying inefficiently; in that case, you should come see me.

    I encourage you to talk to me often in class, office hours, and on the ASULearn forums. Asking questions, and explaining things to others, in or out of class, is one of the best ways to improve your understanding of the material. This course is to be an environment in which everyone feels comfortable asking questions, making mistakes, offering good guesses and ideas, and is respectful to one another. I also want you to be informed about your choices regarding what you tell me about certain types of sensitive information. In situations where students disclose experiencing an act of interpersonal violence to their instructor, faculty are required to report what students tell us to the campus Title IX Coordinator, who then reaches out to the student by email offering support services. I care about you and want you to get the resources you need. I'm happy to talk with you if you decide you want that, but please be aware that if instead you'd like to explore options with someone who can keep your information totally confidential, I highly recommend the Counseling Center at 828-262-3180. They offer walk-in hours as well as after-hours coverage: Appalachian Cares is a place to find updates about matters of student health and safety. It also functions as the most up-to-date clearinghouse of information, resources and support available.

    You should explore ideas and write out your thinking in a way that can be shared with others. Turn in hw and projects and prepare to present problems even if it they are not complete, even if only to say, "I do not understand such and such" or "I am stuck here." Be as specific as possible. Conjecture.

    The CBMS published a statement titled ``Active Learning in Post-Secondary Mathematics Education" about the importance of ``classroom practices that engage students in activities, such as reading, writing, discussion, or problem solving, that promote higher-order thinking" and our classroom is modeled after that. The purpose of homework is to learn and practice computational strategies, concepts, and develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Feel free to talk to me or each other if you are stuck on this assignment, but when writing up work, be sure to give acknowledgment where it is due. Submitting someone else's work as your own (PLAGIARISM) is a serious violation of the University's Academic Integrity Code, which defines:

    Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, borrowing, downloading, cutting and pasting, and paraphrasing without acknowledgement, including from online sources, or allowing an individual's academic work to be submitted as another's work.

    Use of interactive technology is allowed only when it is related to our class. Put cell phones away and set them to vibrate. Photos or video or audio recordings may not be taken in class without prior permission. Food and beverages are allowed as long as they aren't distracting, but e-cigs, chewing tobacco/spit cups and other products are not allowed.

    In this course, you will be challenged with problems that you have never seen before. I do not expect you to be able to solve all the issues immediately. Instead, I want to see what you can do on your own. Out in the real world, this is important, since no matter what job you have, you will be expected to seek out information and answers to new topics you have not seen before. This may feel uncomfortable and frustrating. I understand this and want to help you through the process. It helps to remember that there are no mathematical dead-ends! Each time we get stuck, it teaches us something about the problem we are working on, and leads us to a deeper understanding of the mathematics.

    In the real world though, you are not expected to face your work alone. You will be allowed to talk to other people and you may even be expected to work with other people. In this class, you are also not expected to face your work alone. I encourage you to talk to me often in class, office hours, and the bulletin board, and group work will also be encouraged.

    I am always happy to help you in class, during office hours (or by appointment), or on the ASULearn bulletin board, and will try to give you hints and direction. At times though, to encourage the exploration process, I may direct you to rethink a problem and to come back to discuss it with me again afterwards. This occurs when I believe that the struggle to understand is imperative for your deep understanding of the material.

    Instructor Bio

    I am a full Professor of Mathematics, and I am also an affiliate of Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies, investigating the connections between mathematics and society. For instance, I co-edited the 3-volume Encyclopedia of Mathematics & Society, which was named a "Best Reference" by Library Journal. My interactive mathematics lecture has been distributed on approximately one million DVDs worldwide as a 25-minute DVD extra for the 20th Century Fox Futurama movie Bender's Big Score. I've spoken about the impacts of scientific popular culture representations on NPR's Science Friday and all over the country, and I've won several teaching awards. My PhD is from the University of Pennsylvania in the Riemannian geometry of orbifolds. I am married to the bassist Joel Landsberg. We both happen to be on IMDb: Joel and me. In our spare time, we like to travel, hike and conduct genealogy research. In addition to my own personal genealogy, I like to give back to the broader community, and in this context, I am affiliated with ASU's center for Judaic, Holocaust and Peace Studies. Some of what I like about mathematics is also what I enjoy about genealogy---the sense of exploration, discovery and aha moments that come with lots of patience and effort.