Welcome to Calculus!

CALCULUS I                                     Dave’s Syllabus                                      Fall 2004

Over the next three months, you will see some of the most influential ideas humans have ever imagined, ideas that are essential for most of the technological wonders that have graced our world over the last hundred years, ideas that allow us to explain the physical world around us and make predictions about it. Calculus is the study of how things change. And everything changes.

Random Facts:


Dave Kung


175 Schaefer Hall, x4433 (or 240-895-4433)


dtkung  (at smcm.edu)


Jeff Lee


jglee (at smcm.edu)

Random Fact:

I used to have long hair

Office Hours:







 and by appointment.


Class Philosophy: One learns math by doing it, not by watching other people do it. Consequently, you will be required to participate actively during class, and work very hard outside of it. The payoff is big: Calculus is one of the truly monumental achievements of the human species, and, by the end of this class, you will have begun to understand and appreciate it.

Throughout the semester, I will be giving each of you ideas about what you need to do to improve your understanding of Calculus. Some of these apply to everyone: read the section we will cover before coming to class, try some of the homework problems ahead of time, do lots and lots of homework problems (more than I assign to hand in), don't fall asleep in class, etc. Others will be more directed, and probably suggested to you when you come to my office hours (see above). The flip side of this is that you need to give me ideas about the course, and how to make sure you get the most out of it. I will give a few surveys, but if at any time you have something to share with me, just let me know.

Workshops: On Tuesday evenings when we don't have exams (see below), there will be a workshop in SH134.  In these sessions, we will finish the worksheets we start on Monday in class.  Attendance is required.

Where to go for help: You have three main resources to draw on when you need help in this class. The first and most important is your fellow classmates. Calculus will go much smoother for all of us if you start getting to know them and start studying with them outside of class early in the semester – hence the first-day activity where you met all of them. The second is me – my contact info and office hours appear above.  I will also be around at other times - feel free to drop by and see if I'm in.  If you can't find me, email or call, and we'll schedule an appointment that works for both of us.  In an emergency, you should drop me an email (I check it very frequently). Your third resource will be your TA, Jeff Lee.

Grading:  Calculus can be learned at two levels.  At the basic, mechanical level, you will learn how to do calculus (e.g. techniques of integration, finding Taylor series, solving differential equations, etc.)  Achieving this level of competency will earn you at least a C.  Higher grades will be earned by understanding Calculus at a deeper, theoretical level.  This includes understanding why we do the calculations, why they work, and why they apply to so many of the physical situations around us.  Your ability to explain the concepts of calculus will continually be tested, both in class and on exams.


There will be a variety of ways to show that you are learning Calculus.  They will contribute to your final grade as follows:


Assessment                                    Date                                Percent  

Exam I                                           Sept. 28th                          13 

Exam II                                          Oct. 26th                           13 

Exam III                                         Nov. 16th                          13 

Group Project                                Dec. 6th                             13 

Homework                                     all semester                         10 

Class Participation                          all semester                         10 

Textbook Questions                       all semester                           8

Final Exam                                     Dec. 13 (M) 7pm              20   

Total                                                                                      100 


The exams are in the evening starting at 6pm; they are not timed.  Be sure to mark these on your calendar now.  Information about the Group Project will be distributed later in the semester. 

Textbook Questions:

At least 24 hours before most classes, I will email you all a question or two regarding the textbook reading.  After doing the reading, you should reply to the message, answering as best you can.  Grading for these questions will be entirely on effort.  If you do not check your email frequently, please talk to me.

Extra Credit: You can earn a 1% increase in your grade by attending and writing a one page report on one of the NSM Colloquium talks. This can be repeated up to three times for a total of 3% extra before calculating your final grade. Talks are for a general audience of science majors in the areas of Mathematics, Computer Science, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The lectures are in Room 106SH every Wednesday at 4:40. A schedule of talks will be posted soon.


Learning in this class is considered to be everyone's shared responsibility.  Part of that responsibility is attendance; when you are not here, not only do you miss important work, but the entire class misses out on your contribution.  The Class Participation portion of your grade will reflect that.  Congrats for reading this far.  You will get five bonus points if you email me a message with subject line “hi dave” by Wednesday at 1pm.  In addition, we will be working in groups roughly once a week; how well you work with others will also factor into the Class Participation portion of your grade.  I would like nothing more than to give everyone an A; let's all work toward that goal.