Math 131 Grinnell College Fall, 2012
Section 1: MWF 8:00-8:50, T 10:00-10:50 (Science 3821)
Section 4: MTWF: 1:15-2:05 (Science 3821)
Calculus I

Course materials and assignments on this Web site will evolve over the semester; check the Assignment/Lab Index often for updates.

  Assignment/Lab Index   Instructor   Textbook   Schedule ( .dvi format / pdf format / postscript )   Course Work
  Dates and Deadlines   Collaboration   Academic Honesty   Calculators   Cell Phones   Accommodations   Comp.Accts.   Grading

Math 131 begins the study of Calculus by considering differentiation and integration of functions of one variable. Throughout the course, we will strive for a balance between theory and applications.


Henry M. Walker

Office: Science 3811
Telephone: extension 4208

Office hours are posted weekly on the bulletin board outside Science 3811, with additional hours possible by appointment. You may reserve a half hour meeting by signing up on the weekly schedule, but please sign up at least a day in advance.


James Stewart, Calculus, Sixth Edition, Thomson—Brooks/Cole Publishing, 2007-2008.
Note: We are NOT using the Seventh Edition!

The REAL Calculus Problems I for use in MAT 131.01, MAT 131.04, Grinnell College, Fall 2012 (distributed in class).


While the schedule for this course is expected to evolve, a Tentative Class Schedule is available in .dvi , pdf, and postscript formats.

A reasonably detailed Assignment/Lab Index also is available online.

Course Work
  1. Suggested Exercises: The study of mathematics should be an active endeavor, not a passive one. Thus, each day several exercises will be suggested, but these will not be collected. Each class will begin by discussing difficulties arising from these suggested problems. You should consider working these problems as a minimum, and you should do more problems if you have trouble with these.
    Note: As an incentive for your working on these problems, between a third and a half of the problems on each test and on the exam will be taken from these suggested problems. Click here for specific assignments.

  2. Required Exercises: Beyond the Suggested Exercises, approximately 10 problems will be assigned to be turned in before class on Mondays. There will be a penalty for turning papers in late. Papers over two weeks will not be accepted. Also, no work will be accepted after 5:00pm on Friday, December 14. While students are encouraged to discuss these exercises, each student must write solutions to all problems in her or his own words. Click here for specific assignments.

  3. "Real" Problem Sets: will be assigned during most weeks without labs and due on Fridays. These problems will encourage integration and synthesis of topics. Problem Set write ups may be done either individually or in teams, with one write-up per team. Click here for specific assignments.

  4. Laboratories: Labs are scheduled during class time about six times through the semester (mostly on Tuesdays). Students must work in teams of two or three for each lab, and each team must turn one lab write-up for the team. Write-ups are due the Friday following the scheduled lab.

  5. Written/Group Assignments: On most weeks without a lab, one class period will include a written or group assignment. As with labs, groups will consist of two or three students, and each group will develop a unified write-up of its work.

  6. Hour Tests: Three hour tests are scheduled through the semester, tentatively on Tuesday, September 18, Friday, October 19, and Wednesday, November 21.

  7. Exam: An exam is scheduled during exam week.

    Students in either section may take either exam. Toward the end of the semester, students will choose which exam they wish to take.

Dates and Deadlines

Grinnell College offers alternative options to complete academic work for students who reserve religious holy days. Please contact me within the first three weeks of the semester if you would like to discuss a specific instance that applies to you.

Deadlines are shown on the Assignment/Lab Index , and work is due at the start of each class specified. A penalty of 33% per class meeting will be assessed for any assignment turned in late, even work submitted at the end of a class.


Absolute Deadline: All homework must be turned in by Friday, 14 December at 5:00 pm;
laboratory reports or assignments received after that time will not be counted in the grading of the course.


Collaboration is allowed on laboratory exercises, group assignments, required problems, and "real" problems; but collaboration is NOT allowed on tests or the final exam.

As with all academic work, collaboration with others must be acknowledged in any write-up.

Academic Honesty

All work in this course is governed by the rules of the college regarding academic honesty. In summary, standard practice requires that you must acknowledge all ideas from others.

Electronic Calculators

Electronic Calculators are allowed, but not required, in this course. A few topics in Math 131 (and in Math 133 next semester) require some computations, so calculators can be of some assistance. However, past experience suggests that calculators can be overused in calculus, since some students try to replace thinking by pushing buttons. Therefore, students are cautioned not to become over dependent on calculators.

Any non-graphing calculator may be used during each test and the final exam, but weak batteries and malfunctioning calculators will not be accepted as valid excuses for poor performance. Users of graphing calculators should consult with the instructor about the use of these machines.

Cell Phones, Text Messaging, and E-Community Devices

Cell phones, text-messaging devices, and other social-networking connections may not be used in this class. If you bring such equipment to the classroom, it must be turned off before the class starts and stay off throughout the class period. Use of such equipment is distracting to those nearby and will not be tolerated.


If you have specific physical, psychiatric, or learning disabilities and require accommodations, please let me know early in the semester so that your learning needs may be appropriately met.  You will need to provide documentation of your disability to the Director of Academic Advising. Feel free to talk to me if you have questions or want more information.

Computer Accounts

In addition to general computer accounts which are assigned when they students register at the College, all students in this class will receive accounts on the departmental Linux computers. Some class activities will involve the use of these departmental machines.


The final grade will ultimately be based upon each student's demonstration of her or his understanding of calculus, not on the performance of the class as a whole nor on a strict percentile basis. The following scheme approximates the relative weights attached to various activities in this course.

Required Exercises: 10%   "Real" Problems: 15%   Labs: 15%
Written/Group Assignments: 15%   Tests: 30%   Exam: 15%

This document is available on the World Wide Web as

created 2 January 1998
last revised 13 August 2012
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For more information, please contact Henry M. Walker at