Math 187 course materials

Math 187 syllabus

Course information

Meeting times: M,W,F from 10:30–11:20am
Meeting place: MB 139
Textbook: Edward Scheinerman, Mathematics: a discrete introduction, 3rd edition
Web site: scoskey.org/m187
My email: scoskey@boisestate.edu
My office: MB 238-B
Office hours: M,W,F from 11:30am–12:00pm, Tu from 10:30–11:00, and by appointment

Course goals

This course may differ from the math courses you have had in the past. Rather than focusing solely on calculation and answer, we will seek to be able to justify why an answer is correct based on logical principles. Such a justification is referred to as a proof, and is the central concept in mathematics. We aim to explore the process of mathematical inquiry and discovery and learn skills for giving proofs that allow others to verify our conclusions are correct. In this class it will be more important to be able to ask good questions than to find solutions, and more important to find flaws in a given answer than to blindly apply a formula.

As a backdrop for learning about mathematical formalism and proofs, we will learn about several different areas of mathematics: logic, sets, functions, number theory, and graph theory.

Anticipated learning outcomes

  • Possess an introductory level of knowledge in logic, sets, functions, number theory, and graph theory
  • Read and write mathematical proofs in content areas
  • Read, comprehend, and explain formal mathematical definitions and statements (of the appropriate level)

Rough plan

  • Weeks 1–3: Chapters 1-2
  • Weeks 4–6: Chapter 3-4
  • Weeks 7–9: Chapters 4-5
  • Weeks 10–12: Chapter 7
  • Weeks 13–15: Chapter 9


  • Exam one 15%
  • Exam two 15%
  • Exam three 15%
  • Final (semi-cumulative) 25%
  • Daily prep and classwork 5%
  • Homework 25%

Tentative exam dates

  • Exam one: Monday, September 17
  • Exam two: Monday, October 15
  • Exam three: Monday, November 12
  • Final: Wednesday, December 12 from 12:00–2:00pm

Daily prep and classwork

Reading may be assigned prior to each class. You are expected to arrive prepared to ask questions and discuss the material. Much of our class time will be devoted to group activities and homework assignments. Daily participation and collaboration are required. Sometimes in-class activities will be collected in order to provide fast feedback. A small discretionary portion of your grade will be based on preparation, attention, and collaboration during class time, and completion of in-class activities.


Homework assignments will be given weekly, and collected on the following Tuesday at 12pm. I will check your work for completeness, and spot-check certain problems for correcteness and mathematical style. You are encouraged to collaborate with your peers, you are welcome to use online resources when you are stuck. But please keep in mind that you must always fully understand your solutions and most importantly write them in your own words.