Problem Solving in Algebra, Probability, and Statistics

Math 132, Fall 2011


TA: Christine Lien
email: lien [at]

mailbox: #40 on 2nd floor of Van Vleck

Office: Van Vleck 420
Office Hours: TR 12pm-12:55pm,
and by appointment.

Syllabus: pdf

Class Exercises:


Course Overview:

In this class, we will discuss the content necessary to teach elementary and middle school. This includes topics in probability, algebra, and statistics. The goals of this course is to go far beyond merely covering the material. Our main goal is for you to come out of this course with a deep understanding of the mathematics behind these sometimes elementary topics. We want to put you in a position to not only be able to solve the problems presented, but have the creativity and flexibility with the mathematics to design your own problems for your students as well as fluently evaluate the innovative solutions that your students will come up with.


You should see the syllabus on the left for specifics. Below is a rough breakdown.

Exams - 50%
You will have 2 midterms and 1 final. The midterms will take given in class, and the final will be given on the date designated by the University. The dates and percentages of the exams are as follows:
  • Exam 1 (10%) - October 11
  • Exam 2 (15%) - November 17
  • Final (25%) - December 19
There are no makeups and no calculators for the exams. Exams are cumulative.

Participation - 10%
Much of the work in class will be done in groups and you are expected to be an active participant in the class discussions as well as in your groups. I expect you to contribute your ideas to the tasks set before your group, to explain your ideas to your group members so that they understand, and also to point out where their reasoning in a problem may be incorrect.

As part of your participation grade, you are also expected to write a journal entry (1-2 pages) of the ideas discussed in class that day. The journal should summarize the ideas brought up in your group discussions or class discussion, and you should include your reflections on these ideas. If you found a couple of ways to solve a particular problem, you should mention the details in your journal. You should also include things you found confusing.

Written Assignments and Quizzes - 40%
Written assignments will consist of in-class worksheets, and homework assignments. Worksheets will be turned in at the time of exams.

Quizzes will be on Thursdays and are timed 5 minute quizzes. They are intended to increase your flexibility, familiarity, and comfortability working with math operations such as addition, subtraction, division, order of operation, fractions, etc. Answers should always be in the most simplified form. Only the best 10 quizzes will count toward your grade and there are no make up quizzes.





The Math Tutorial Program has a Math Help Resources page that has very useful information about finding additional help in this course, including information about old exams, and the math board.