BLC-190 – Spring  2020

Algebra, Trigonometry, and Functions



                         -Professor: Daniel Newsome

                         -Office: Learning Commons, Stone Row basement [map]


         -Office Hours:  Mondays and Fridays from 3:00-4:00

                                                    ...or by appointment.

-Parent Webpage:

Class schedule: Wednesdays, 5:30-7:30 pm, Olin 201


         Calculator: Any basic scientific calculator.  IOS/Android calculators will work.


I'm revising all of the worksheets and homework as I go, so always...

Refresh Me      Refresh Me

[Use the reload/refresh button on your browser to see the latest updates.]

Last Up-Dated: 4/9/20 7:36 AM


All Homework and "Additional Materials" are listed on this table when they are due, not when I assign them.

Class #-

Due Date


Additional Materials



Diagnostic, Unit Conversions, and Excel Calculator




Diagnostic, Conversions, Repeating Decimal, Simple Excel


Here is the homework due for 2/5: HW-2-PDF

Optional: RadioLab-For the Love of Numbers


Triangle Puzzle and Exponents


Homework that's due 2/12:  HW-3-PDF


Properties of Exponents




Homework due 2/19: HW-4-PDF


How I Feel about Logarithms Short video/animation



Homework due 2/26: HW-5

Derivation of Newton's Law of Cooling using the calculus.


John Oliver on Compound Interest and Fees


Here are the answers to HW-5.  I suggest you not look at this until you have attempted the problems.



Cube and Tetrahedron


In-Class Quiz Cancelled. 

We'll do some review and I'll give you a take-home quiz instead.

Sample Quiz with Answers:  This models all of the problems in the actual Take-Home Quiz.


Take-Home Quiz Due 3/18


CoVid19 - Switch to Remote Classes


New email address for communicating with me:

My regular Bard email was getting too cluttered with frantic stuff from frantic people. 

I needed to set up a calmer place for doing education.


I'll try to work out office hours via Skype or GoogleMeet, but at present I haven't had time to set that up.  For the time being, just email me ( and I'll answer questions either in videos or phone calls, or in writing. 


Relax with some music:

-Distorted Reality

-Hippy Flam.




Homework 8 - PDF

Today, 3/18, is our first online class.

It will not be live, but recorded and written.


First half of class:

Here is the video going over Homework-8.  HW-8-video


Here are the Answers for HW-8.

Materials for 2nd half of this class:


-Watch this:  Intro to SIR [video]

MP4 version-Intro to SIR [video]

You will need to be signed into your Bard Google account to view this video.


-Read this: SIR Part 1 [PDF]


The homework assignment [HW-9] is posted below, on 4/1.

Here is a better still photo of the blackboard from HW-8-video



HW-8 Addendum [video].  The gist of the problem in 3 minutes.




Spring Break -  Good Timing.


Over break: Listen to the RadioLab linked to on the right and read the Quammen chapter also linked on the right.  I'll send you the password to the password-protected PDFs in an email.

Read  and listen:


RadioLab-Patient Zero- Excellent episode. Interesting use of sound and music.


Quammen-Malaria-Modeling- Describes the history of mathematical modeling (SIR model)



Class 9 - Due 4/1/2020


You should have listened to the RadioLab and read the Quammen over break.


This homework assignment is a bit heavier than usual.  I'm wanting to make up for the fact that last week was not really up to snuff.



-Download this PDF and fill it in: Exercise-I-SIR-1-form.pdf  It was created as a "form," so you should be able to fill in the empty boxes using a computer or tablet.  If it doesn't work as a form, just print it out, fill it out, and then scan/photograph it and then send it back to me at this address:

Please try to keep the files below 1 MB if possible and light your photographs evenly.


-Watch this: The revised Introduction to SIR: Pts1&2 [video]


-Read this: Modeling CoVid19 in SIR


Exercise 2:  Make an SIR spreadsheet.  [PDF]  I don't need proof of this assignment, but if you have a problem, please email me and we'll try to figure it out.

Helper videos:  Making SIR, pt1   and   Making SIR, pt2


Exercise 3: Play with your SIR spreadsheet (or the ones I've made: My SIR spreadsheets]. Use different inputs and try your hand at modeling the following situations:

1) A Zombie Infection - your choice of Total population.

2) The CoVid19 infection in a Total population of 100 people, and another with 2000 people.

3) A mild seasonal flu in a population of 500,000.


Take screen shots of your initial conditions and the graph,

then write up a paragraph analyzing your scenarios.

Send your analysis and screen shots to:


Video: Part of the Zoom class from 4/1.  The resolution is pretty awful.  Unless you missed class, I don't recommend watching this.




NYTimes story: Worst Case Scenario: slightly depressing, but appropriate vis-a-vis the assignment.


Gorman-Lab Animals and CoVid19


IOT- The Origins of Infectious Diseases


Lia-NYT- Which Country Has Flattened the Curve?


NYTimes-Interesting Graphics- Virus on the Move- This is another approach to modeling the infection.


Flattening the Curve- NYT


Mandavilli-NYT-Can You Become Immune to the Coronavirus? - Finally, some news on immunity for the Recovered population.



Quammen on the history of HIV/AIDS- good description of the "Molecular Clock."


Class 10: Last Class


To Do List: (Have this done for class.)

1) The Golden Section and the Pentagram [PDF]

     This PDF has links to video material necessary for completing HW-10.  It is password protected.  Email me if you don't know the password. 


2) Make your own pentagram: HW-10a


3)  Materials and Homework assignment for  Trig Properties and Identities: HW-10b




Zoom Class from 4/8/20


Notes: Deriving Trig Identities:

Angle addition/subtraction, double-angle, half-angle




How to make a Beam Compass for making good circles: video


Trig Identities Derived





         Math Study Room: RKC 101, Sunday-Wednesday, 7:00-10:00 pm.  This is a peer-tutor study room and is a casual place to get mathematical help.  This won't be active until about 2 weeks into the semester.


Precalculus Review Notes: Professor Ethan Bloch has created some precalculus review notes. I recommend using these notes as a reference during this course:

Precalculus Review Notes (in color)

Precalculus Review Notes (in grey)

Podcasts that might be of interest:




IOT-Muslim Spain




IOT-Early Islamic Maths


IOT-Prime Numbers




RadioLab-For the Love of Numbers


IOT-Indian Maths




U.S. Students Lacking in Object Permanence Skills



         Course Description and Resources


         BLC190 reviews the material of a standard precalculus course.  It is intended for the student who has taken a precalculus (or similar) course in high school or college and wants or needs more practice with algebra, trigonometry, logarithms, and exponentials.  This course can be taken at the same time as a math, science or economics course, or in preparation to take such a course in a subsequent semester. It is frequently taken along with Calculus 1.


         This course does not fulfill the MC (math and computing) distributional requirement. 


         Please use my office hours or email me to arrange a meeting.  I'm here to help. []


         Also use the Math Study Room, which has qualified math tutors available for walk-in service.  Feel free to do your math homework in the Math Study Room so that you can have instant access to math help.


         Your grade will be determined by the following:


         1/3 Attendance, Punctuality, Attention, Preparedness, and Participation: Treat this like a job. Email me if you will miss class.

         1/3 Homework: Completeness, Correctness, and Timeliness

         1/3 Quizzes and Exams:  There will be at least 2 exams and quizes whenever the spirit moves me.


         This is a Pass/Fail course.  Passing requires 70% or better.  Your midterm Criteria Sheet will indicate a letter grade so that will know where you stand, but your final grade will be pass/fail.


         ADA Statement

         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 Amy Shein ( to determine if you may be eligible.