Welcome to Calculus, the Study of Change!

CALCULUS I                                     Dave’s Syllabus                                   Fall 2015

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 (@dtkung)


175 Schaefer Hall, x4433

(or 240-895-4433)



Random Fact:

My kids & dogs are bilingual.


Sarah Tillman



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 humankind, 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 (and answer the emailed question), try some of the homework problems ahead of time, do lots and lots of homework problems (both online and on paper – and more than I assign), 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), we will finish working on the worksheets we start in class on Monday. 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. 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 say hi.  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.


Grading:  Calculus can be learned at two levels.  At the basic, mechanical level, you will learn how to do calculus (e.g. taking derivatives, using chain rule, etc.)  Learning Calculus at this level is required to pass the class. You will demonstrate such proficiency in two Gateway Exams, one on differentiation and the second on anti-differentiation. On each, correctly answering 8 of the 10 questions is required to pass the class. If you score below 8, you may repeat a Gateway Exam without penalty (on your own time).


Beyond the Gateway Exams, 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 ``Opportunities’’ (the name is because you should see them as your chance to show us what you have learned.)

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  

Opportunity I                                Sept. 22th (6pm-??)            11 

Opportunity II                               Oct. 20nd (6pm-??)           11 

Gateway I                                       Oct. 26th (and after)             4

Opportunity III                              Nov. 17th (6pm-??)           11 

Gateway II                                     Dec. 4th (and after)               4

Group Project (more later)             Dec. 9th                              11 

Homework                                     all semester                        10 

Class Participation                         all semester                        10 

Textbook Questions                       all semester                          8

Final Exam                                    Dec. 14th (Tue.) 9am-??    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 truly have no idea, please tell me that.


Most homework will be completed online using a system called Webwork and will be assigned daily. You should be doing more than these problems – especially if you’ve never taken Calc before. Login at webwork.math.smcm.edu/webwork2/Math_151_01_F15/; use your SMCM username, with your SMCM ID as your initial password (which you should change). Homework will always be due by 9am, giving me time to look at the results before class. If you have a legitimate excuse (e.g. an injury, illness, or death in the family) contact me for an extension.

Extra Credit: You can earn a 1% increase in your grade by attending and writing a summary of 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 most Wednesdays at 4:40.  Watch for announcements of these talks on email and on posters around campus.


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.  To show you read carefully, wear a hat to class on Wednesday, September 2nd. We will be working in groups regularly; how well you work with others will also factor into the Class Participation portion of your grade. 


I would like nothing more than for everyone in this class to earn an A; let's all work to toward that goal.