Math 131 - Fall 2019 (all sections)

Instructor: Dr. Silas Johnson
Course times: MWF 9:00-9:50 (section 1), 10:00-10:50 (section 2)
Office: Cupples I, room 107A
Office hours: Tuesday 12:30-2:00 (shared with Math 493), Thursday 2:00-3:15 (your class only)

You must attend your own class section. This policy may change, but as of now, there are no extra seats in the room for the 10:00 section.

Assistants to the Instructor:

AI office hours are held in the Calculus Help Room, 10am-4pm Monday through Friday. All AI's are prepared to offer calculus help; you don't need to wait until your own AI (or even one for this course) is there; go whenever it fits your schedule.

Discussion Sections are held on Thursdays with the AI's, and will focus primarily on small-group problem solving. Instructions will be distributed at the first section, and posted on Canvas.

Course Outline

This is the first course in a three-semester calculus sequence. Major topics include:

Learning Objectives:

In addition, you should be building a number of general skills throughout the course, such as:

Teaching and Learning Philosophy

While it is easy in a large lecture class to sit back and watch math happen on the blackboard, remember that the only way to learn math is to do math. It is crucial to your success that you engage with the material both in and outside of class. We will spend as much class time as we can allowing you to learn actively, rather than passively, in a variety of ways. Be open to the fact that class may not always look like what you think a lecture has to look like!

It is also easy to get lost in a crowd in a class like this, but you will have better results if you approach learning as a community activity. (After all, if that weren't important, you could take this class online!) The best resource you have is not the textbook, old exams, homework problems, or office hours, but your classmates. Use them! Work together in and outside of class, form study groups, ask for and give help. Conversely, remember that you are the best resource they have too, and communicating your ideas to others is a great learning technique and a crucially important skill.

Finally, don't be afraid to make mistakes. Despite all our emphasis on grades, failure is a crucial part of the learning process, and you should not expect to get everything right the first time. It is also your responsibility to help create an environment in which your classmates can safely engage in productive failure.

General advice for calculus courses:

Textbook and Materials

Textbook: Calculus, Early Transcendentals, 8th edition, by Stewart. You do not need to purchase any access code for online content along with the book. It is fine to get an old edition, and may save you quite a bit of money. If you do, please check regularly with classmates to make sure you are reading the correct sections.

If you are also taking chemistry, you may be able to save money by buying both textbooks in electronic form through Cengage Unlimited; see this video that describes Cengage Unlimited and how to get access. Use the class key wustl 5315 3133 to access this course. Note that none of this is required! You do not need WebAssign access to take this course; see below about WeBWorK, which is free.

Calculators: You may use any calculator for your homework, but calculators will NOT be allowed on exams. The overuse of calculators or computers on homework problems is discouraged, as it robs you of valuable practice. Formula sheets will be provided for some exams, where appropriate, and these formula sheets will be published ahead of time.

Canvas is our course management system; grades and homework will be posted there, as well as occasional announcements. To access Canvas, go to Note that all content will be posted under a merged course for sections 1 and 2; if you only see section 1 listed but are enrolled in section 2, this is normal.

WeBWorK: Homework will be assigned through this system. You do not need to do anything (or pay anything) to sign up for Webwork. Under the "assignments" tab in Canvas is a link to Webwork; use this link to access the system.

Homework and Exams

Homework will be assigned weekly via WeBWorK. Homework is normally due [TBD on the first day of class]; no late submissions are accepted. WeBWorK problem sets will generally be tied to one section of the book, so there will be multiple sets due each week. Make sure you complete all problem sets each week.

I strongly encourage you to collaborate on your WeBWorK assignments, as long as you are able to solve each problem on your own after discussing it with your classmates. See the section "Teaching and Learning Philosophy" above for more thoughts on the role of collaboration in the learning process. However, copying answers from other students without solving the problem yourself (like the overuse of technology) robs you of valuable practice.

Discussion section attendance: Discussion sections will be graded on attendance only. You are allowed two absences without penalty, for any reason (excused or otherwise). Additional absences will count against your grade unless all absences are excused. If you arrive late or leave early, it may count as an absence.

Suggested problems: I intend to periodically post lists of suggested problems from the textbook. These do not need to be turned in, but they will serve as useful practice for exams and for building your skills.

Exams: There will be three exams, plus a final exam. The dates of these exams are:

You are responsible for arranging your schedule so that you can take these exams at the assigned time. If an emergency arises that will preclude your attendance, contact Dr. Johnson as soon as possible. The final exam will not be given at any other time. You must take it at the assigned time; do not book winter break travel that causes a conflict. Exceptions to the final exam time can only be made in serious emergencies, and will usually involve taking an incomplete grade.

Exams will generally consist of about 15 multiple-choice problems and 2-3 free-response (hand-graded) problems. Past exams can be found on the math department website, and I highly recommend taking at least one past exam under timed conditions prior to the first real exam. Practice exams will be posted in a format identical to the real exam.

Accommodations: Students requiring accommodations for a disability during exams or otherwise should register with Disability Resources as soon as possible. Send your VISA (which you will receive from Disability Resources) to Dr. Johnson at least two weeks in advance of the first exam so your accommodations can be arranged.


Grade Computation: Your course grade will be weighted as follows, whichever gives you the higher score:

Curve Policy: If the average score on an exam is below 75%, a constant will be added to each student's score for that exam only to bring the average to 75%. This adjustment will take place before scores are plugged into the formula above for total course grade.

Grades will never be adjusted down if the average is over 75%. No adjustment will take place for homework scores or the overall course grade.

Dropped Assignments: Two discussion section grades will be dropped. No WeBWorK assignments will be dropped, but if you earn 95% of the available WeBWorK points, you will get full credit for this component of your grade.

Letter Grades: Total course grades will be converted to letter grades according to the following ranges:

Note that scores will not be rounded; a total grade of 84.99 is still a B+, but 85.00 is an A-. The difference between an A and an A+ does not affect your university GPA.

If you take the class on a credit/no credit (pass/fail) basis, you must earn at least a C- to pass.

Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) and Math 139A

PLTL is an optional (but popular) program that supplements the course with extra small-group sessions once a week, led by a trained undergraduate peer leader. Signups will be open the first week of class. More information is available on the PLTL website.

New for 2019: Students who fully participate in the PLTL program and attend at least 9 of the 11 sessions will be given the option to earn 1 credit hour for their participation. Grading will be pass/fail (or credit/no credit). Enrollment will take place within the PLTL groups at the end of September.

Math 139A (Real Mathematical Applications: Solving Problems with Calculus I) is a separate course that can only be taken concurrently with Math 131. The purpose of the course is to show how mathematics can solve real world problems, and how calculus dramatically expands the range of problems that can be tackled. The course meets Tuesdays from 10:00-10:50am, and each class will be devoted to the analysis of a variety of different real-world problems. For more information, including potential topics, see Prof. John McCarthy's course page.

Useful Resources

Campus Resources

External Math Resources

Approximate Schedule

This schedule is only an estimate! If you miss class, please confirm with another student so you can make sure you catch up on the correct material. And if we are ahead of or behind schedule, adjust the dates associated with suggested problems accordingly.

Suggested problems are not required, and you do not need to turn them in, but they are a good starting point for your practice. You may find that you need to do more, or fewer, problems to master the material.

Week Dates Sections and Suggested Problems Notes
1 8/26-8/30 Diagnostic Test D: 1-9
1.1: 1-4, 7-10, 16-17, 38-41, 49, 71-72
1.2: 1-4, 8, 11, 17-18, 29-30
1.3: 1-5, 8-14, 29, 33-35, 43-45, 61-62
1.4: 1-4, 11-13, 18-19, 24
1.5: 1-2, 5-15, 18, 21-23, 35-39, 45, 51-52, 63-64, 69-71
2 9/3-9/6 1.5: See last week
2.1: 1-9 (pick any)
2.2: 1-2, 4-6, 9-11, 15-16, 21, 31-33, 45, 52, 54
2.6: 4-8
No class Monday
Add/drop deadline, Thursday
3 9/9-9/13 2.3: 1, 10-14, 20-25, 29-31, 59-63
2.5: 5-8, 11-12, 19-24, 35-36, 43-48, 53-54, 69
2.6: 17-22, 28-29, 47-49, 55, 63-65
Chapter 1-2 T/F quizzes (for exam review)
Just for fun: 2.5 #67, 68
4 9/16-9/20 2.7: 1, 5-8, 11-13, 23-25, 31-36
2.8: 1-13, 21-31, 41-44, 47-51, 57
3.1: 3-36, 50, 55-56, 65, 68
EXAM 1; Wednesday 6:30-8:30pm
TENATIVELY covers sections 1.1-1.5, 2.1-2.6
5 9/23-9/27 3.2: 3-23, 51-53
3.3: 1-19, 31
3.4: any of 1-54, 77-78, 84-85
6 9/30-10/4 3.5: 5-32, 49-57
3.6: 2-19, 23-26, 31-34
3.8: 1-6
7 10/7-10/11 3.7: 1-10, 15-16, 23-26, 38-39
3.8: 7-17
3.9: 1-6, 13-20, 29-38, 44-50
Last day to change grading to pass/fail or audit, Friday
8 10/16-10/18 3.10: 1-10, 23-28, 32-38
4.1: 3-14, 29-44
No class Monday-Tuesday
9 10/21-10/25 4.1: 47-62
4.7: 2-10, 13-46, and as many more as you want
4.2: 5-14, 17-18, 24-27, 36-38
EXAM 2; Wednesday 6:30-8:30pm
TENTATIVELY covers sections 2.7-2.8, 3.1-3.10, 4.1, and previous material
10 10/28-11/1 4.3: 1-2, 5-6, 8-21, 24-31, 33-48, 66-68, 72
4.4: 1-4, 8-68
4.5: 1-54, 56, 71-72
11 11/4-11/8 4.3-4.5: Continue from last week
4.7: 47-82, as many as you can stand
12 11/11-11/15 4.9: 1-22, 25-48, 51-54 Last day to withdraw, Friday
13 11/18-11/22 5.1: 1-8, 13-14, 16, 21-26
5.2: 1-12, 17-25, 27-28, 33-42
EXAM 3; Wednesday 6:30-8:30pm
TENTATIVELY covers sections 4.1-4.7, 4.9 (maybe), and previous material
14 11/25-11/26 5.3: 1, 7-48, 55-58, 72 No class Wednesday-Friday
15 12/2-12/6 5.4: 1-46, 51-56
5.5: 1-48 (if we get that far)
Exams 12/12 Final exam 3:30-5:30