Montgomery College- Rockville

Department of Mathematics

Spring 2013


Math 115, Mathematical Ideas, CRN 32768


Professor:  Rick Penn          

Office: 30 Science West (SW)            

(240) 567-5195


Office Hours:  Mondays, 3-4 pm; Wednesdays and Fridays, 10-11 am; or by appointment.


Course Description: Intended primarily for students who need only one mathematics foundation course, this course includes topics selected from (but not limited to) graph theory, geometry, number theory, algebra, combinatorics, and statistics. Students address topical applications from management sciences, social sciences, environmental sciences, information technologies, and the arts, with an emphasis on quantitative reasoning.


Text:  Excursions in Modern Mathematics, 7th edition, by Tannenbaum/Arnold, Prentice Hall, with MathXL.


Required supplies: You will need a calculator, but it does not need to be a graphing calculator.  Any calculator that can handle arithmetic operations and exponents, with parentheses to set order of operations, will be fine. 


Prerequisites: Grade of C or better in MA 097 (Intermediate Algebra) or equivalent, or appropriate score on the Math Assessment Test, or approval of the professor.  NOTE:  If you enrolled and do not have the prerequisites met, you may be dropped from the class.


Course layout:  We will be covering 3 of the 4 parts in the textbook - “Social Choice”, “Management Science”, and “Shape, Growth, and Form”.  Each part consists of 4 loosely related chapters.  We may speed up or slow down at various times, but we will typically spend approximately 1 week on each chapter. 


Grades:   You grade for the course will be based on 5 components: 

Ø  Quizzes, which will follow each chapter.  I will drop the 1 lowest quiz, and average the others.

Ø  Homework, which will be due weekly.  Most answers will be submitted on MathXL, but I will also collect work in which you show step-by-step how you arrived at your solutions, along with explanations in the form of neatly drawn pictures and/or complete English sentences.

Ø  3 unit tests.  

I will drop the lowest of these 5 grades, and average the other 4 equally.  If your average is then 90 or higher, you will earn an 'A' for the course; 80-89 will earn a 'B'; 70 - 79 a 'C'; 60-69 a 'D'; and 0-59 an 'F'. 


Make-up Policy:  Late homework will not be accepted, as we will generally be discussing it the day it is due, and then moving on to new topics.  If you know in advance that you will miss a quiz or test for a college sponsored activity, religious holiday, or other similarly unavoidable reason, I will try to make arrangements for you to take an alternate test before the test day. No make-ups will be given after the fact for any reason.

In addition, we will frequently have in class worksheets and other activities. 


If you miss a class, it is your responsibility to contact me as soon as possible so that you can be prepared for the next class session – do not wait until the next class meeting to ask for missed work!  I will often be able to

e-mail you copies of the missed activities so that you don’t fall even further behind.


Important dates:        February 17 :  last day to drop the class (no ‘W’)

April 21:  last day to drop the class (receiving a grade of ‘W’)

Wednesday May 15:  final exam:  10:15-12:15


E-mail communications:  Communications for this class, when necessary, will be made via college e-mail.  Be sure to check yours regularly! 


Inclement weather and other emergencies

If inclement weather forces the College or any campus or College facility to suspend classes or close, public service announcements will be provided to local radio and television stations as early as possible. You may also call MC at 240-567-5000 or check the college website to verify MC school closings.  Any exams planned on days classes are suspended will be administered at the first class meeting once classes resume.  Note that the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) and Montgomery College do not follow the same school closing procedures. 

In the event class is unexpectedly cancelled, please check your college e-mail for information and assignments.  I will do my best to keep class going even if we can’t meet in person.


Math Science Center:  Located in 02 Macklin Tower, this is where you can go to borrow a math book, work in a group study area, work in a quiet study area, use a computer for a math or science class, borrow a calculator, or, best of all, get free tutoring.    The phone number there is 240-567-5200, and the hours are: Mon. – Thurs. 8am – 8pm, Fri. 8am – 4pm, Sat. 10am – 3pm.


Accommodations for Students with Disabilities:  Disability Support Services (240-567-5058)

Any student who may need an accommodation due to a disability, please make an appointment to see me during my office hour. A letter from Disability Support Services (CB122) authorizing your accommodations will be needed. Any student who may need assistance in the event of an emergency evacuation must identify to the Disability Support Services Office; guidelines for emergency evacuations for individuals with disabilities are found at:


If you are a veteran or on active or reserve status and you are interested in information regarding opportunities, programs and/or services, please visit the Combat2College website at and/or contact Joanna Starling at 240-567-7103 or


Academic Regulations & Student Code of Conduct

All MC students are expected to follow “Academic Regulations” & “Student Code of Conduct” as described in the MC Student Handbook.  These regulations and guidelines can be found at:



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I would love nothing better than to have everyone earn a passing grade, or better yet an 'A'.  However, the grades that I give will be those that are earned, as described above.  If you "absolutely, positively, must pass this class"  to graduate / for your job / to keep your full-time status/ so your dog doesn’t run away / or for any other reason, the time to think about that is now, not after you have dug yourself into too deep a hole.

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I expect that when you come to class, you are doing so with the intention of learning.  I will do my part to make the atmosphere as conducive to learning as possible, and I ask you to do the same.  Feel free to ask questions, or to answer questions for other students.  But please keep unnecessary distractions down, and,

please turn off and put away all cell phones, ipods, etc. before entering class.



Math 115 Learning Outcomes:


Upon completion of this course, a student will be able to:


Collect and organize quantitative information and then model a societal, cultural or management system


Select an appropriate mathematical model for a given quantitatively based system and then analyze properties of the system


Compare, contrast, and discuss the limitations of alternate methods of analyzing a given quantitatively based system


Use technology to develop and analyze mathematical models for quantitatively based systems


Explain the difference between exact and approximate algorithms


Explain the difference between efficient and inefficient algorithms


Select an appropriate algorithm to use on a quantitatively based system