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Lansing Community College • Main • Arts and Sciences • Math and Computer Science Dept

Precalculus I MATH-121

  • Spring 2017
  • Section 80739
  • 4 Credits
  • 01/24/2017 to 05/08/2017
  • Modified 03/16/2017


This course provides the foundation in college algebra essential for subsequent mathematics courses. Preparing students for calculus is emphasized. Topics include polynomial, rational, radical, exponential, and logarithmic functions; solving equations/inequalities algebraically and graphically; and mathematical modeling/regression in problem solving. (F,Sp,Su)


Prerequisite: (Minimum 2.5 in MATH 112 within 2 years or Math Level 6 within 2 years) and Reading Level 5 and Writing Level 4

Recommended: Graphing calculator required. TI 83/84 series calculators recommended; TI-84 Plus CE highly recommended.

Contact Hours







Total Hrs



Student Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Represent and recognize functions verbally, numerically, graphically and algebraically, including linear, quadratic, polynomial, rational, root/radical/power, piecewise-defined, exponential and logarithmic functions.
  2. Perform algebraic (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and composition) manipulation of functions including difference quotient.
  3. Perform transformations of functions - translations, reflections and stretching and shrinking.
  4. Analyze the algebraic structure and graph of a function, such as: intercepts, domain, range, asymptotes, symmetry (even/odd), end behavior, etc., and be able to determine the algebraic definition for a function given graphically.
  5. Understand the concept of inverse function and be able to find inverses of one-to-one functions and understand the relationship of the graph of a function to that of its inverse.
  6. Recognize the need for complex numbers and apply basic operations to complex numbers.
  7. Graph polynomial functions and find the zeros over the complex number system and factor a polynomial into linear factors.
  8. Solve a variety of equations, including polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic, and equations arising in application problems.
  9. Solve a variety of inequalities such as polynomial and rational inequalities graphically and algebraically.
  10. Model and solve a variety of real-world problems using equations or inequalities.
  11. Model real-world data with functions using calculator regression capability for prediction and analysis, including determining the appropriateness of a model.
  12. Use and correctly interpret the many features of a graphing calculator.


Author: Stewart, Redlin, and Watson
Publisher: Cengage Learning
Edition: Seventh
ISBN: 9781305011759
Availability: Gibson's, MBS, online in WebAssign, other places...

This book may be available in the Learning Commons, the Library, and at East and West Campuses. Lack of ability to purchase a book is not a valid excuse to skip assigned reading and practice problems.

More textbook information can be found here.

Required Calculator

A graphing calculator is required. The TI-84 is recommended and supported.  The TI-83 will work as well.  Students planning on going on past Calculus 2, may want to consider purchasing the TI-89, 92, or Nspire, however these calculators are not supported in this class so it will be up to the student to learn how to use them.

Access to WebAssign for Homework

Homework can be completed online through Web Assign. An access code (which comes with the book or can be purchased separately) and Class Key is required.

All students will be required to do at least one introductory assignment in WebAssign during the free trial period which expires on Feb 6th.

Information to enroll:

Instructor Section Class Key
Laura Shears MATH 121, section CRN 80739 lcc 2293 5629

Optional except for an introductory assignment which can be done during the free trial period which expires Feb. 6th.

  • Optional
  • Price: $94


Student Electronic Access to Grades

Desire2Learn (D2L) is the College’s Course Management System which includes a gradebook function allowing students access to their grades in order to receive timely and meaningful feedback on their progress in the course at any time. These grades will align with the Evaluation Criteria listed in this syllabus. D2L is accessed through the MyLCC page.

Whenever practicable, results for graded items should be posted electronically within 48 hours after the instructor has completed the grading process for the items, and final grades for the course should be entered no later than the specified grading day. 

If your instructor is using an electronic gradebook system other than D2L, instructions on accessing that system will be provided below.


Types of evaluations and related weights
Type Weight Topic Notes
Class Attendance and Participation 10%

Measured by participating in your in class groups and doing in-class problems and activities.

Skills/Prep Assignments 10%

Measured by me grading the daily short assignments and/or preps that you turn in at the beginning of class.

WebAssign Homework or D2L Quizzes 20%

Measured by the automatic grades you get from doing all of a units graded WebAssign Problems or the units D2L quizzes.

Exams or Tests 40%
Final Exam 20%
Additional Information

Students are expected to complete a formative assessment in WebAssign at the beginning of the semester. This assessment counts towards your homework/quiz grade.


Department/Program Specified


94-100%   =  4.0   935 - 1000 pts

88-93%    =  3.5    875 - 934 pts

82-87%    =  3.0    815 - 874 pts

77-81%    =  2.5    765 - 814 pts

71-76%    =  2.0    705 - 764 pts

65-70%    =  1.5    645 - 704 pts

60-64%    =  1.0    595 - 644 pts

0-59%      =  0.0       0 - 594 pts

skills / prep... per day
in-class acts per day
quizzes/hw...per unit
final exam ...
20 ×  05
20 ×  05
 4 ×  50
 4 × 100


Course Policies

Makeup Tests

There are 4 graded tests in this course. All of them count towards your grade. You will have an opportunity to redo up to 2 tests to replace a test if you are unhappy with your scores or you miss a test. Be aware that it is possible to lower your grade by taking a makeup exam. After you get a perfect score on the corresponding homework/quiz option. Your score for the second exam will count if it is higher. Your score for both exams will be averaged if the score on the second exam is lower. If you wish to take a makeup exam, redo the corresponding homework or quizzes for the unit until you have a score of 100%. If you needed a lot of help completing this requirement , you may want to hold off on the makeup exam until you get a chance to get more help from me or a tutor on the material. I want you to do well on exams so when time permits; it is good to make sure you understand everything before testing.

Pretest Requirements

It is expected that a student will have completed and scored at least 75% on prep/skills assignments for the unit and on one of the following:

  • Web Assign graded homework.
  • D2L unit quizzes
  • Paper homework (from a pdf file found in the course)

This must be done before the test.  There will be a review day during the class period before each test.  You should have most of this work done before the review day as one 2 hour review is not enough time to complete it, however on the review day you can ask questions and get help completing this requirement.  If you are doing the paper version of the work you must complete it by the end of the review day so that I have time to grade it and see that you are qualified to take the test.

If you desire to take a makeup test, you need to get a 100% in one of the 3 categories listed above.  However it will be too late to go back and get a higher grade on the skills assignment.

Class Attendance/Participation

A large portion of the class grade comes from in class  problems and  occasional in class experiment as well as prep and skills problems that need to be turned in during the next class after they are assigned.  It is vital that you attend and participate regularly so you can get the points associated with these items as well as get the learning opportunities.

Dropping the Course

If you find that you are unable to commit the time it takes to succeed in this course, please pay attention to the drop dates located at: and the school's withdrawal policies located:

Jan. 30, 2017:    Last day to drop with a 100% refund 

Feb. 6, 2017:     Last day to drop with a 50% refund and no record on your transcript

Apr. 26, 2017:   Last day to drop with a W on your transcript.

If you miss 2 or more classes or graded items in any one category* without communicating with your instructor, you will likely be dropped.  However if you know you want to drop, please take responsibility to do so rather than counting on an administrative drop.  Also, if you miss assignments or classes, please discuss the situation with your instructor.  I would like to help you stay in the course if that is possible. The best way to communicate with me other than in person is through the Desire to Learn e-mail system.

*Note that not achieving at least a 75% on a quiz (which you can get help with and do repeatedly until the due date and time) or at least 75% of the online homework is considered missing an assignment / quiz.

Extra Credit

Extra credit is earned on regular exam days when taken with the class by retaking the exam with your group for up to 10% more points.  If you have special needs that require you to take the exam outside of class other arrangements to be determined will be made for earning extra credit. You must show proof of special needs in order to have other arrangements for extra credit.

There may be up to an additional 10 points extra credit available that has not yet been determined.

Electronic Gradebook

Grades will be posted in Desire to Learn.


If you are under 18 years old, please note that this is a college class and as such you will be treated like any other college student.  If you have questions about anything related to this course, please ask me directly.  As a college teacher I only discuss grades and other personal information with the student that is involved.  If you want to share any information that you get from me with your parents you are welcome to do so, but please take the responsibility upon yourself to discuss issues that concern your progress in the course with me directly.

Study Time

This is a four credit course taught in 14 weeks.  For most college classes, you can expect to spend 2-3 hours per week outside of class for every hour in class.  It should take most students 16×4×(2 or 3)/14 = 9 to 14 hours per week of study time to be successful in this class.    Don't be afraid to ask for help!


Shears Math 121 Sp17   Tentative Schedule   EC105 TR 8:30-10:35AM Last Update: March 16, 2017  

Tuesday Thursday Notes
•Discuss Syllabus
•Get in Groups
•Set up WebAssign Temp. Acct
•Work on Formative Assessment
Jan. 26
•Work in groups on syllabus activity
•Discuss topics related to Formative Assessment:
  • rationalizing denominators,
  • solving radical equations,
  • simplifying compound fractions,
  • add/subt rational expressions,
  • solving eqtns involving radicals,
  • solving eqtns involving rational expressions,
  • simplifying expressions involving rational and/or negative exponents and properties of exponents,
  • getting complex expressions in a + bi form,
  • solving inequalities and equations involving absolute value.
Last Day for 100% refund: Jan. 30, 2017
Jan. 31
Continue discussing topics related to the FA:
•sec. 1.1 absolute value as a distance
•calculator skills
•sec. 1.7 Word Problems
•sec. 1.5 Various Equation Types
Feb. 2
•sec. 1.9 distance, midpoints, circles, and perpendicular bicesectors
•sec 1.5 completing the square
Last Day for 50% refund: Feb. 6
Feb. 7
•sec 1.3 and 1.4 factoring challenge problems
• other problems related to chapter 1 topics
Feb. 9
Test 1 Review Day
Feb. 14
Test 1
Feb. 16
•sec. 2.1, sec. 2.2, & sec. 2.3: functions, plotting functions, & reading graphs
Feb. 21
•sec.2.4 & sec. 2.5: average rate of change, linear functions, & models
Feb. 23
•sec. 2.6 w/parts of 1.9: transformations, even and odd, and relation symmetry
Feb. 28
•sec. 2.7: algebra and composition of functions
Mar. 2
•sec. 2.8: 1-1 functions & inverse functions
Mar. 7 Mar. 9 Spring Break, No School
Mar. 14
Test 2 Review Day
Mar. 16
Test 2
Mar. 21
•sec. 3.1 &amp. sec. 3.2: Quadratic Functions & Polynomial functions and their graphs
Mar. 23
•sec. 3.3 & sec. 3.4: Theorems about zeros of Polynomial functions; Long and Synthetic Division
Mar. 28
sec. 3.5 & sec. 3.7 w/1.8: Complex Zeros, Real Zeros of Polynomial and Rational Functions & Rational Inequalities
Mar. 30
sec. 3.6: Graphing Rational Functions
Apr. 4
Test 3 Review Day
Apr. 6
Test 3
Expontial Function Prep Assigned
Apr. 11
•sec. 4.1 & sec. 4.2: Exponential Functions, Graphs, & Applications
Apr. 13
•sec. 4.3 & sec. 4.4: Logarithmic Functions, Graphs, & Applications
Apr. 18
•sec. 4.5 & sec. 4.6: Exponential and Logarithmic Equations and More Applications
Apr. 20
Preferred Test 4 Review Day
Apr. 25
Preferred Test 4 Date
Apr. 27
Alternate Test 4 Date
Last day to drop with a W on your transcript: April 26
May 2
Review Day
May 4
Final Exam
Check D2L for your final grades.

Institutional Policies

Transfer Potential

For transfer information, please consult the LCC website at

The Michigan Transfer Agreement (MTA) and the MACRAO Transfer Agreement simplify the transfer of students from one Michigan institution to another. MACRAO will be replaced by the MTA which is effective for students entering Fall 2014 or later. Students who started prior to Fall 2014 will be able to complete the MACRAO Transfer Agreement through Summer 2019, or they may complete the MTA requirements. The most current MTA information can be found at and the current MACRAO information is available at

For additional transfer information contact the Academic Advising Center in the Gannon Building - Star Zone, (517) 483-1904.

Disability Statement

Students with disabilities who believe that they may need accommodations in this class are encouraged to contact the Center for Student Access, Gannon Building, Star Zone - Campus Resources ( or by calling (517) 483-1924 [TTY (517) 483-1207] as soon as possible to better ensure that such accommodations are implemented in a timely fashion.

Student Code of Conduct and General Rules and Guidelines

LCC supports a positive educational environment that will benefit student success. In order to ensure this vision, the College has established the LCC Student Code of Conduct and the Student General Rules and Guidelines to ensure the protection of student rights and the health and safety of the College community, as well as to support the efficient operation of College programs. In addition, the College has established guidelines for the redress of grievances by individuals accused in such proceedings. A copy of the most current Code can be found on the College’s website at                 

It is the responsibility of the student to be familiar with, and abide by, the Student Code of Conduct, as well as the General Rules and Guidelines. Furthermore, the instructor may establish reasonable guidelines within the classroom environment. Violations of the Student Code may be reported to the Office of Student Compliance.

Enrollment Verification

Class attendance and participation are essential to student success. Instructors will update class rosters by the 8th day after the start date of sections less than 8 weeks long, and by the 15th day after the start date of sections 8 weeks or longer to accurately reflect student enrollment in each course. Students who have not attended by these dates may be administratively dropped and responsible for any required tuition and fee charges.

Additional Items


Free Tutoring is available at the Learning Commons, located in room 108 of the Arts & Sciences Building.  Please stop by or call (517) 483-1206 for additional information,  Additional tutoring is also available at the East and West campus.

Honors Option

An Academic Honors Option is a form of instructional agreement whereby a student can earn an Honors designation on his or her transcript by completing one or more approved enrichment assignments in a non-Honors course.  This course allows qualified students to complete Academic Honors Options.  The Academic Honors Option assignment(s) designed by faculty for this course are explained below.  If you elect to complete this work and do so successfully, your achievement will be noted on your official LCC transcript.  Please be aware that Academic Honors Options DO NOT earn Honors course credit.

Students seeking an Honors Option may complete one of the following assignment choices in addition to all other course work assigned by the instructor:
1.   One or more substantial mathematics projects assigned by the instructor.  Mathematics projects should either extend the mathematical content of the course or apply the mathematics within a new context.
2.   An extensive research paper on a topic germane to the course and approved by the section instructor.
Additional information will be posted on the Desire2Learn course site.

If you are interested in earning an honor designation on your transcript for this course, talk to me early in the semester about what additional work will be necessary in order to do so.


  • Borrow a Calculator:
  • Drop in Tutoring:  The Learning Commons has math tutors to assist you.  Check the current hours at:
  • Tutorial Services:  You can also sign up for 1-1 or small group tutoring on a weekly basis at the Learning Commons in A&S 108.  Sign up early as appoints go fast:
  • Supplemental Instruction:  Tutorial Services also hires Supplemental Instructors (SI) to run sessions to help students with the course material.  We are lucky to have Curtis as our SI this semester.  He is very enthusiastic about helping you learn Precalculus.
  • Technical Help:  If you have troubles with Desire to Learn or the LCC website or LCC computers, you can contact the Help Desk at 483-5221 or for assistance.
  • Counseling:  If you need personal assistance check out the Counseling Center in the Gannon Building Star Zone on the downtown campus.  Their number is 483-1904 and their website is:
  • Advising: Academic Advising can also be found at the Counseling Center listed above.  The website for advising is:
  • Your Classmates: Many students find that working with classmates outside of class can be helpful for getting homework done and preparing for tests.  It is good to attempt problems on your own and then get together with others and explain difficult problems to each other.  Doing this, both helps the student struggling with a problem and it reinforces concepts for the student who is doing the explaining.
  • Your Teacher: I hold regular office hours, listed near the top of this syllabus and I also tutor in the Learning Commons in A&S 108. 

Make sure you get help when you need it.  It is vital that you grasp all concepts and stay current with the material.