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Foundations of Geometry

Course Details

Course Number
Section Number
Spring 2011
Bolin Hall
Classroom Number
Days & Times

MW 3:00 - 4:20 P.M.

Dr. Dawn Slavens (view Profile)

Course Attachments


College Geometry Using The Geometer's Sketchpad
Course Objectives



The most important objective of this course is to introduce students to mathematical thinking and reasoning through a hands-on exploration of interesting and challenging topics in geometry.  The emphasis in this course is on conjecture, exploration of interesting geometric ideas, leading to the development of a robust proof or refutation.  The goals of the course can be roughly divided into the broad areas of process goals (exploration, proof, and communication) and content goals (in synthetic, analytic, and transformational geometry.)

 Process Goals

By the end of the course, the successful student will be able to


  • use The Geometer’s Sketchpad with reasonable proficiency,
  • discuss ideas in geometry – and more generally, in mathematics – that contain unsolved questions and unresolved issues,
  • demonstrate an understanding of the need to justify or refute any conjecture,
  • conduct geometric experiments and form an opinion on the validity of a geometric statement—and if necessary, revise the statement based on these experiments,
  • demonstrate spatial reasoning by constructing representations of geometric objects and situations;


  • use correct logical reasoning consistently,
  • visualize geometric situations at an appropriate level,
  • construct and interpret diagrams,
  • explain the role of axioms and undefined terms in a mathematical theory,
  • suggest possible proof methods for geometric statements appropriate to the course,
  • use various proof strategies appropriately – for example, direct proof, indirect proof, proof by contradiction, counterexample, etc.
  • develop proofs of appropriate sophistication;


  • demonstrate an understanding of relevant mathematical vocabulary,
  • use geometric language more precisely,
  • discuss geometric ideas with peers,
  • present geometric arguments to groups of peers,
  • organize geometric ideas into coherent arguments or questions,
  • relate geometric statements to diagrams, and vise-versa,
  • read and critique mathematical arguments,
  • write coherent geometric proofs,
  • critique arguments made by peers.

 Broad Content Goals

  • Explore geometric relationships among classes  of two- and three-dimensional objects – for example, congruence, parallelism, symmetry,
  • Discover and verify basic properties of common geometric objects,
  • Describe and explore spatial relationships using a coordinate system,
  • Use transformations and symmetry to analyze geometric questions,
  • Use algebraic techniques to analyze geometric questions.
Course Expectations

Text: Students are required to purchase the textbook, College Geometry Using The Geometer’s Sketchpad By Barbara E. Reynolds SDS William E. Fenton. 

Software:  It is recommended that students purchase the following software:  The Geometer's Sketchpad, Version 5.  Students can purchase a non-expiring license or a one year license by scrolling to the bottom of the page of the following website ( ). Students who choose not to purchase the software can use computers on campus to complete homework that requires the use of the above software.

Additional Note:  Students will need a jump drive to store electronic work.

Grading Standards

Grades will be calculated using the following point scheme:

     Exams:  35% of course grade                                                        

     Final Exam:  25% of course grade

     Other graded assessments of student work: 25% of course grade

     Active participation in-class: 15% of course grade

The traditional 90–80–70–60 scale will be used to determine course letter grades at the end of the   semester.

Final Exam 05/09/2010 5:45 - 7:45
Submission Format Policy

Homework is due at the beginning of class, and late homework will not be accepted.  A student who is absent may turn his/her homework in by faxing it to the attention of the instructor at 940-397-4442, or by scanning it and sending it through email to  Homework must be faxed or emailed by the beginning of class to avoid being late.

Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.
Late Paper Policy

Homework:  Late assignments are not accepted.

Exams: No make-up exams will be given!!!

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements



Students are expected to attend and be punctual to every class meeting.  Excessive late arrivals or early departures from class will count as unexcused absences. Since this course relies heavily on group participation, any student with n unexcused absences, where n >0, will lose (2n-1)% from his/her final course average.  For extreme circumstances in which the instructor is convinced that an absence was unavoidable, the instructor may consider an absence to be excused.  It is the responsibility of the student to discuss any such absence with the instructor, as well as, when requested by the instructor, provide documentation supporting the reason for the absence. Regularly, between class meetings, students will be assigned to complete investigation type activities and come to class prepared to share your discoveries and thoughts about the mathematics within these activities.  In addition, at times you will be asked to work specific problems from the text and come to class ready to present your solutions, or at least share your thoughtful ideas about solving the assigned problem.  For each class meeting in which you have not prepared sufficiently (i.e. unable to have an intellectual discussion around the assigned activities or problems), your grade will be reduced by 1%. 

Other Policies


 Major Focus of Course Text Content: Chapters 1 – 7, 9

 Additional Text: We will make some use of the text Geometry A Guided Inquiry, by G.D. Chakerian, et al.  The instructor will provide loaner copies of this text as needed.

 Reading:  It is expected that you read the textbook.  The class is not going to be run in a lecture style format.  You must read the textbook or you will miss important information.

 Homework:   Homework will be assigned regularly and some of the homework will be turned in to be graded.  Students will also be expected to present to the class many of their solutions to assigned problems.

 Exams:  Dates of hourly exams will be announced at least one week prior to the exam.  Expect at least one, possibly two, take-home exams, as well as two in-class exams.

 Cell Phones and Pagers:  Please turn these off during class.

 Student rights: All students should refer to the MSU Student Handbook for information related to student responsibilities, rights and activities.  Topics such as Student Affairs and Student Life, Academic Issues, Financial Issues, University Policies and Procedures, and Code of Student Conduct are included in this handbook. 

 Evidence of cheatingIf there is evidence of cheating on an exam or plagiarism on any written assignments or take-home exams, or assisting a student in cheating or plagiarizing, you will receive a zero on the work and possibly a letter grade of F for the course. Further, university policy concerning reporting evidence of cheating to college deans, etc. will be followed.

Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

Campus Carry

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at