HOMEWORK INSTRUCTIONS == CALC 02 == FALL 2005 == page 1/ 5. How to Do Homework INSTRUCTOR: DOUG JONES YOUR NAME ______________________________ FALL SEMESTER 2005 [CALC. VERSION] INTRODUCTION"Practice makes perfect@1is an old, tried-and-true saying. However, in a math class at the college or university level, there is not much time during the class periodfor you, the student, to practicemath. The number of required topics and the essentially lecture-type atmosphere do not leave time for practice. Thus math must be practiced outside the classroom. I=ll set aside some time each class period to show you how to work homework problems you're "stuck" on. But in reality this work does not constitute "practice" for you; it is really just practice for me. And, hopefully, I don't need too much practice. Now, what does it mean Ato practice math?@I suggest that at the college level it means to actually work problems. And what does it mean to workproblems? It means B•to read problems carefully, •to decide which mathematical "tools"2to use, •to properly and systematically use those mathematical tools3, •to analyze the results critically 4, and, in the case of word problems,•to interpret those results in a written style which is understandable, even to an average, educated person. On a more mundane level, Ato practice math@is Ato simplify expressions,@Ato solve equations,@Ato calculate,@and Ato graph.@And how do we do these types of practice? It's called homework. This is the bottom line Byou've got to do homework to get good at math. And, evidently, your chosen career requires both analytical thinking and computational proficiency. Thus, you do need to Aget good at math.@So let's agree that homework is necessary. Now it's going to be part of my job this semester to convince you that "Homework is a necessary evil." is an incorrect statement. I must try to show you that homework is necessary, but not evil, in fact, I hope to show you that homework can be, well, . . . fun. Now, don=t laugh! And really, if you do not enjoy the solving of problems, both mathematical and logical, then, I suggest, you will not be happy in a career involving mathematical reasoning and/or scientific inquiry. But I guess we'll see about that later. For now, let's get into how I want you to do your homework. 1Actually, as a student pointed-out to me years ago . . . . “Perfectpractice makes perfect.” 2In this context, the word "tool" means a formula , equation or maybe even a technique (like rationalizing a numerator). 3Here, "use those tools" means “solve the equations,” or “correctly rationalize the numerator.” 4For instance . . . . “Does this answer make sense?”
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