Rubric (grading guide) – OpenLab Final Project

The link below will take you to the grading rubric for your OpenLab Final Project. ¬†The project is worth 15 points altogether, the equivalent of three OpenLab assignments, and the rubric explains how I will assign those 15 points (5 points in each of 3 different categories). You may wish to invest 15 minutes of your time in reading through it — knowing how I will grade the project can be a great benefit when you are setting out to complete it (knowledge is power!).

Grading Rubric for OpenLab Final Project: Final Exam Study Guide

OpenLab final project: Final Exam Study Guide

EDIT:  Since all the Final Exam Review problems are now spoken for, please choose a problem from Exam Review #3, problems 6-12.

List updated Thursday, May 16, 2pm to include current list of CLAIMED PROBLEMS (see the bottom of the post for the list).

Assignment (Due Thursday, May 16, 2:30pm).  Create a study guide for one problem on the final exam.  This project will take the place of all remaining OpenLab assignments (it will count for 3 assignments overall), and consists of the three tasks described below.

Your audience is your classmates and other CityTech students taking MAT 1272. 


  1. Choose a problem, and claim it by replying to this message.  Choose a problem from the final exam review sheet that you would like to work on Рbut do NOT choose problems #17, 21, or 26 (these will be covered in the final days of the semester).  Only one person may work on each problem, and they are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.  To claim your problem, reply to this post and include your name and the problem number you want.  Please look through the replies that have already been posted Рif your problem is already taken, you must choose another.
  2. Solve the problem.  Write an explanation, in words, of each step of the problem, and then show the the results of each calculation. Include any advice you can think of that might help fellow students, for example how you knew what type of problem it was, or how you knew what to do next!
    Stuck?  Ask for help!  You are encouraged to talk to your classmates, to tutors, or to Mr. Reitz about your problem and solution.
  3. Create a new blog post with your solution. Do NOT reply to this post with your solution.  Instead, create a new blog post with your solution.  Your grade for this assignment will be based on your post.  Instructions for creating a blog post appear below.

Read the following instructions carefully and completely. 

You will create a new blog post on our OpenLab site. ¬†You create a new blog post by logging in to the site, and clicking on the gray circle with a “+” plus sign at the very top of the screen (and selecting “Post”). ¬†Once you have created and published a post, you can find it on the Home page of the site. You CAN make changes to a post, even after it appears on the site.

Your post should include the following:

TITLE: Study Guide for Problem # (insert your problem number here)

BODY: include the following in the body of your post

  • your name
  • the problem you chose to work on (please include the entire problem)
  • step-by-step solution, with explanations and results of each calculation

TAGS: please add the following tags to your post (using the box on the right). ¬†1. “study guide”, 2. topic (for example “hypothesis testing”, or “probability” – there are many options, and you can include more than one), 3. plus any other tags you think are appropriate

Don’t forget to click the blue “Publish” button on the right side of the screen to make your post public. ¬†You can also use the “Save Draft” option, which will save it without making it public (to find it later, go to the Dashboard and click “Posts” on the left side).

Feel free to post questions on the OpenLab if you have them.



CLAIMED PROBLEMS (Updated Thursday, May 16, 2:00pm):

1 Glen Moore
2 Julieann McGonigle
3 Tanzima Mursalin
4 Erica Press
5 Barbara George
6 Ram Rampersad
7 Brianna Mahoney
8 Jenny Soriano
9 Valerie Cabezas
10 America Hernandez
11 Craig Shaw
12 Anil Dipu
13 Adriana Mandelburger
14 Candice Wright
15 Anthony Marc
16 Melissa Alteon
17 xx
18 Garfield Gray
19 sessa
20 Dania Elder
21 xx
22 Zinaida Ashurova
23 Fatima Elmachatt
24 Mary Fung
25 Mohammed Ahmed
26 xx

Exam Review #3 (Problems 6-12 only)
6 Elizabeth Fitts
7 Laticia Bourne
8 Jacky Xu
12 Edward Zheng

OpenLab #9: Reflecting on the class so far

Every college class is planned with certain goals in mind Рto convey ideas, to encourage certain kinds of thinking, to provide opportunities for learning, for exploration, for practice.  A typical plan consists of a mix of different activities, both in and out of class, and hopefully each activity contributes to achieving the goals of the class.  In this assignment, I am going to ask you to think about some of the different things we do for this class and reflect on their effectiveness.

Some of the activities that make up this class are listed below.  This list is not comprehensive (it may be missing things!), and includes both in-class and out-of-class activities.

Partial list of class activities:

  • lectures
  • webwork assignments
  • openlab assignments
  • exams
  • answering questions at the board (often at the start of class)
  • doing examples on the board (often during the course of a lecture)
  • asking/answering questions on the OpenLab
  • working on problems individually during class
  • group work during class
  • asking/answering questions by email
  • office hours

Assignment (Due Thursday, April 18th, 2:30pm).  Respond to at least two of the following questions (1 or 2 sentences each).  Feel free to discuss activities that are not listed above, if you wish.

  1. What activities have been most useful to you in preparing for exams? Why?
  2. What activities have been most useful to you in making connections between the class material and other areas of your life? Why?
  3. What activities have been most useful in building community in our class (creating a comfortable atmosphere, getting to know your fellow students, building trust)? Why?
  4. Are there any activities that you would like to spend more time on (this includes activities that are not on the list, but you think should be included)? Explain?

OpenLab #8: Take a break, read a book

You have no OpenLab assignment this weekend.  If you wish, you can earn a little extra credit by responding to the following.

Extra Credit (due Thursday, April 11, 2:30pm) ¬†Hey, what are you reading?¬† Tell me one book you like, and¬†very briefly why¬†you like it. ¬†It can be something you read recently, or an all-time favorite. ¬†It can be serious or fun, something you read to pass the time, or in school, or to improve yourself, or for some other reason. ¬†Any kind of book is fine — literature, science fiction, romance, nonfiction, graphic novels, whatever. ¬†Be sure to include the author and title, and a link if possible.

I just finished reading¬†Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. ¬†It was fun and fast-paced, just the thing for passing the time on the subway. ¬†I liked the gaming theme, ¬†the dystopian future sci-fi setting, and the unending references to 1980’s culture (that’s when I was in high school). ¬†Fun!

OpenLab #7: Pick a topic (or three)

In the second half of the semester, we’ll be working on creating an annotated study guide for use in preparing for the final. Everyone will be responsible for creating a guide explaining how to do one type of problem.

Assignment (Due Thursday, April 4, 2:30pm). The list below gives an overview of topics/types of problems covered in the class. ¬†In this assignment, you should choose THREE of the following topics that you think are interesting or might like to work on. ¬†One or more of your choices must be from the second half of the class (items 10-18, things we have not studied yet). ¬†Don’t be afraid to choose a topic you don’t know – you will have opportunity to learn, ask questions, and get help along the way! ¬†Respond to this post, including your top three choices (give both the number and name of your choice, for example “my first choice is: #5, probability and counting”).

  1. Frequency distributions (sec 2.1). tallying data, classes, relative frequencies and percentages, histograms
  2. Measures of central tendency (sec 2.3). mean, median, mode
  3. Measures of variation (sec 2.4). range, variance, standard deviation
  4. Representing data visually (sec 2.2, 2.5).  stem-and-leaf plots, quartiles, box-and-whiskers plots
  5. Probability and counting (sec 3.1, 3.4). combinations, permutations, sample space, events, probabilities
  6. Combining probabilities¬†(sec 3.2, 3.3). multiplication rule “and”, addition rule “or”, mutually exclusive events
  7. Independent events (sec 3.2).  conditional probability, given, independent
  8. Discrete probability distributions (sec 4.1).  mean, standard deviation, probability distributions based on frequency, based on tree diagram
  9. Binomial distributions (sec 4.2).  trials, success, failure, binomial formula, finding probabilities in binomial distributions
  10. The Normal Distribution (sec 5.1, 5.2, 5.3).  z score, finding probabilities, finding values
  11. Normal Approximations to Binomial Distributions (sec 5.5). solving binomial problems using the normal distribution, continuity correction
  12. Sample Mean problems (sec 5.4) finding probabilities involving the sample mean
  13. Hypothesis Testing for the Mean (Large Samples) (sec 7.2), null hypothesis, alternative hypothesis, level of significance, rejection region, critical value, z-test
  14. Hypothesis Testing for the Mean (Small Samples) (sec 7.3), null hypothesis, alternative hypothesis, rejection region, critical value, degrees of freedom, t-test
  15. Correlation (sec 9.1), positive and negative correlation, correlation coefficient
  16. Linear Regression (sec 9.2), find equation of the line of best fit/regression line, use it to predict values
  17. Goodness-of-Fit Test (sec 10.1), multinomial experiments, chi-square test
  18. Independence (sec 10.2), chi-square test for independence

OpenLab #6: Get caught up!

As you know, your second exam will take place next Thursday, March 21.    I know you have a lot to work on this weekend, including WeBWorK assignment #6 and the Exam 2 Review Sheet, so we will NOT have an OpenLab assignment this week.  As you are working, if you have questions about WeBWorK, the review sheet, or anything else, I strongly encourage you to post them on the discussion board Рeither under the existing thread or by creating a new topic.

You can still earn¬†extra credit this week by answering another students’ question on the discussion board.

Best of luck with your studying,
Mr. Reitz

OpenLab #5: Probability in the wild

UPDATE 3/12/13: ¬†There have been some great, and very creative, responses so far – thanks. ¬†Translating a “real-world” percentage into an experiment, and determining the possible outcomes, is a significant challenge! ¬†In many cases I’ve asked a question or made a suggestion — if you respond to my comment appropriately, I’ll give you extra credit for this assignment. ¬†Here are some tips, based on what I’ve seen so far:

  • The Experiment should describe a process that could result in one of several outcomes.¬†
  • The Outcomes ¬†describe the different possible things that could happen. ¬†There should always be more than one outcome. ¬†Often, news articles will focus on something that already happened (as if the experiment already took place), and so we may already know what outcome was obtained¬†in that particular case, and it’s easy to think of this as “THE outcome” — but there is always something else that¬†could have¬†happened, and might happen if the experiment were repeated. Don’t forget this ‘other outcome’.
  • If your example began with a percentage, this will almost always be the probability that one of the outcomes will happen. ¬†Take a look at your experiment/outcomes — does this fit?

Probability is an idea that shows up very often in the world outside our math classroom. ¬†It occurs whenever a chance of something happening is described, often as a percentage (“a 90% chance of rain”), but sometimes in other forms (“a 9 out of 10 chance”). ¬†However, it is not always simple to see how the basic setup described in class applies to one of these situations — that is, to think of probability in terms of an experiment, with various outcomes.

Recall that an experiment is a process which, when carried out, results in just one of several possible outcomes.  The outcomes are simply the different results that can occur.

Here are some examples from the news:

Example 1:

According to, there is a 10% chance of rain on Thursday, March 14 (at least, this is the percent reported on Wednesday, March 6).

The experiment: we wait and see what the weather is like on Wednesday, March 6.
Outcomes: it rains, it doesn’t rain.

Example 2:

“Spanish researchers have completed the first human trial of a new vaccine against HIV. It has been successful in 90% of the HIV-free volunteers during phase I testing. This vaccine brings great hope to eradicate this plague forever.”

The experiment:  HIV-negative people are given the vaccine, and then are tested to see if they can contract HIV when exposed.
Outcomes: They do not contract HIV (the vaccine was  successful), or they do contract HIV (the vaccine was unsuccessful).

Assignment (Due Thursday, March 14):  Find an example of probability in the news.  Reply to this post including the following:

  1. A brief description (what is it about?).
  2. A link to news story or article.
  3. Describe the experiment to which the probability refers.
  4. Describe the outcomes of the experiment.

NOTE: You may NOT use the same example as someone else – please check the existing responses before you submit yours.

Extra Credit: ¬†For extra credit, choose an example from your own major or intended career. ¬†At the end of your submission, include the words “Extra Credit:” followed by ¬†a brief description of how the example relates to your major/career choice.

OpenLab #4: Math in your future?

Most people go to college because they are trying to build a better future for themselves.  What job do you hope to get after college?  Imagine you have completed your college degree, and your education and experience have allowed you to obtain the job that you want.

With this job in mind, consider the following list of activities.  Which of them are you most likely to be asked to do as part of your new job?  Put them in order from most likely to least likely.  If you are uncertain, make your best guess based on your current knowledge and experience.

List of activities:

  1. Use a formula (correctly identify values, substitute them into the formula, and simplify the result to get an answer).
  2. Learn to use a computer system that is unfamiliar to you, and then complete a task on that system.
  3. Brainstorm a variety of responses to a problem and decide among several solutions, each of which has plusses and minuses.
  4. Make a decision based on data (for example: a list of responses to a survey, a list of numbers, a table, or chart)
  5. Calculate the mean or standard deviation.
  6. Complete an assignment with a team of several people, including: finding a time and place to meet, dividing responsibilities, making sure everyone is completing their part, delivering the final product on time.

Assignment (due Thursday, March 7):

Respond to the above activity by leaving a comment in response to this post.  Your comment should include all of the following:

  1. What is your major?  What job are you hoping to get after graduation?
  2. From the list of activities above, give your ranking in order from¬†‚Äúmost likely to be required on your new job‚Ä̬†to¬†‚Äúleast likely‚ÄĚ.
  3. Discuss the first item on your list.  Do you think that this class will help prepare you to complete that task?  If so, how?  If not, what could be done in this class to help prepare you for that task?
  4. Discuss the last item on your list.  Do you think it is important to learn (even if you are not likely to use it at your job)?  Why or why not?

Extra Credit.  Comment on  someone else’s post.   Do you agree or disagree? Why?

OpenLab #3: Take a break

UPDATE:¬†Thanks to everyone who has responded so far, BUT… the point of this assignment is to give your classmates the chance to explore new, fun music! So I’ve added a requirement — you MUST include at least one or two specific songs in your post in order to get the extra credit (it would be extra special if you include a youtube link!). ¬†Yes, it’s hard to decide on just one or two, and I know you like lots and lots of different music… ¬†tough luck.

You have no OpenLab assignment this weekend – use the time to catch up on other work and study for the exam.

Extra credit (due Thursday, 2/28, at 2:30pm).¬† Tell me what music you like.¬† What’s in heavy rotation on your iPod?¬† I’m listening to¬†Parov Stelar¬†(“compulsively listenable electroswing”) and alt-J¬†(“creamy vocals, hip-hop drums, folk guitar and synth”). ¬†A few ground rules: ¬†No offensive lyrics, be considerate of others, feel free to include a link but only to a legal site such as YouTube or SoundCloud.

OpenLab #2: Advice from the past

Last summer I taught this course, MAT 1272, in summer school.  Just before the final, I gave my students the following assignment:

Imagine that you are invited to speak on the first day of MAT 1272, to give advice to entering students. ¬†Write a paragraph…describing what you would tell them.

To see the assignment and the students’ responses, follow this link.

Your assignment, due next Thursday, 2/21/13 at 2:30pm, is to:

  1. Read throughALL the responses (there are 38 of them, but some are quite short).
  2. Write a reply to this post (1 paragraph) responding to all of the following:
    1. What advice seemed most relevant to you personally? Why? (you can copy/paste a short statement, or put it in your own words)
    2. Based on this advice, what changes can you make right now to help you with this course?

NOTE: Some of the advice is related specifically to the fact that it is a summer course, which covers the same material that we are covering but in the space of only 5 weeks.  Feel free to ignore these comments, as they do not apply to us!