College Geometry, MATH 480/680, Spring 2012

This is the home page and first day handout for MAT 480/680, meeting MW from 2:30 to 3:45 in CBC-C235.  My name is Dr. Arthur Baragar, my office is CDC 1016, and I can be reached at 895-0378. Important information announced in class will also be posted on WebCampus. The prerequisite for this course is MAT 181 or consent of the instructor. You should also know how to multiply, invert, and take determinants of 2x2 matrices (so you should have studied some linear algebra -- this is covered in MAT 126 and MAT 330).

Syllabus: This course will cover the following topics of geometry:

  • Chapter 1:  Euclidean geometry – the geometry of triangles and circles.
    • Students will know how to apply fundamental results in Euclidean geometry to concrete problems and proofs.  The fundamental results include the Pythagorean theorem, the “Star Trek” lemma, properties of similar triangles, power of the point, concrete versions of SSS, SAS, and ASA (i.e. Law of Cosines and Sines).  Students will also learn about the four basic centers of triangles – the centroid, incenter, excenter, and orthocenter.
  • Chapter 3:  Constructions using only a straight-edge and compass.
    • Students will learn how to relate constructions to algebra, be able to decide whether certain objects are constructible, and construct them if they are.  Students will also know how to construct a regular pentagon and the algebraic expression for cos(2p/5).
  • Chapter 4:  Discovery using Geometer's Sketchpad.
    • Students will be able to use Geometer’s Sketchpad and be able to demonstrate many results using the software. 
  • Chapter 10:  Spherical geometry.
    • Students will learn how spherical geometry is different, yet similar to Euclidean geometry, most notably through concrete versions of SSS, SAS, ASA, and AAA (namely spherical versions of the Pythagorean theorem, angles of right angle triangles, and the spherical Laws of Cosines for sides and angles).   
  • Chapter 12 and handouts:  Hyperbolic geometry (a different view from Chapters 6 and 7).
    • Students will study the pseudospherical model of hyperbolic geometry and, mimicking the content on spherical geometry, learn how this non-Euclidean geometry is different, yet very similar to both spherical and Euclidean geometry.  They will be proficient in solving SSS, SAS, ASA, and AAA problems using hyperbolic versions of the Laws of Cosines for sides and angles. 
  • Chapter 5:  Platonic and semi-regular solids.
    • Students will learn about regular and semi-regular tilings of Euclidean, spherical, and hyperbolic geometry (one of which leads to classifications of Platonic and semi-regular solids). 


Text:  A Survey of Classical and Modern Geometries, by Arthur Baragar, published by Prentice Hall. The website for this text (which includes errata) is at

Other Details:  Sketchpad assignments will be handed in electronically.  The preferred format is by email through WebCampus, and in one file (I'll explain how to do this when the time comes).  

Sketchpad assignments can be done on campus computers in CEB 309, CBC-B133, CBC-B322, or at home if you have a copy of Geometer's Skecthpad.  Geometer's Sketchpad is currently on all Clark County School District computers, so you may want your own copy (or maybe not – once in the school system, you can get a copy for home through the District's site license).  A student version of Geometer's Sketchpad can be purchased from Key Curriculum Press for $39.95 plus shipping.

A ruler and compass will also be required to do some exams.  

Grading Scheme: There are two grading schemes, one where quizzes do not count; the other where they do.  I will use the one that is best for you.

  • Homework: 10%.
  • Sketchpad assignments: 10%.
  • Quizzes: the better of 0% or 10%
  • Exam one, Wednesday, February 15th: 15%.
  • Exam two, Wednesday, March 21st: 15%.  (Bring a ruler and compass.)
  • Exam three, Wednesday, April 25th: 15%.
  • Final, Wednesday, May 9th, 3:10 pm – 5:10 pm: the better of 25% or 35%.  (Bring a ruler and compass.)

Exams one and two will have an in class component and a take home component.  Exam three is a take home exam.  The take home components are due the following Monday at the beginning of class.  The grading scheme for students taking MAT 680 will be slightly different. There is no preset correlation between numerical grades and letter grades.  A letter grade (without + or -), a report card, if you like, will be posted on WebCampus after every exam.  Sample exams will be posted on WebCampus.

Office Hours: If you need to see me, please look for me during the office hours posted below, or please make an appointment. Office hours begin the second week of classes.

  • Monday and Wednesday, 10 am – 11 am,
  • Monday, 4 pm – 5 pm,
  • ... or by appointment.

If no one is in my office at 4:30 on Monday, I will feel free to leave, so please show up early.


Breakout sessions:  Every student is assigned to one of the two breakout sessions, which are both in CBC-C114 and are either Fridays 1:00 – 2:15 or Fridays 2:30 – 3:45.  These sessions will be conducted by Brandon Metz.  Quizzes (almost weekly?) will be given in these sessions.      

            Contact Information for Brandon Metz: 

                        Office:  CDC 720

                        Phone:  895-0687


                        Office hours:  TBA. 


Unusual circumstances:  I have back-to-back conferences March 3rd – 8th, so will not lecture March 5th or 7th.  Alternate arrangements have not yet been made.       

Other Important Dates:  (See the UNLV calendar for more details.)

  • January 16th:  Martin Luther King Day recess.
  • January 17th:  Instruction and late registration begin.
  • January 23rd:  Final date for late registration, course additions, changes, or fee payment (with late penalty).  Last day to inform me of absences due to religious holidays.  Last day to drop a course without it showing up on transcripts.
  • February 20th:  Presidents' Day recess.
  • March 23rd:  Final date to drop or withdraw from classes (except short courses). 
  • April 2nd – April 7th:  Spring Break recess.
  • April 30th – May 5th:  Study Week.
  • May 7th – 12th:  Final examinations.

University required announcements:

Academic Misconduct – “Academic integrity is a legitimate concern for every member of the campus community; all share in upholding the fundamental values of honesty, trust, respect, fairness, responsibility and professionalism. By choosing to join the UNLV community, students accept the expectations of the Academic Misconduct Policy and are encouraged when faced with choices to always take the ethical path. Students enrolling in UNLV assume the obligation to conduct themselves in a manner compatible with UNLV’s function as an educational institution.”

An example of academic misconduct is plagiarism: “Using the words or ideas of another, from the Internet or any source, without proper citation of the sources.” See the “Student Academic Misconduct Policy” (approved December 9, 2005) located at:


Copyright – The University requires all members of the University Community to familiarize themselves and to follow copyright and fair use requirements. You are individually and solely responsible for violations of copyright and fair use laws. The university will neither protect nor defend you nor assume any responsibility for employee or student violations of fair use laws. Violations of copyright laws could subject you to federal and state civil penalties and criminal liability, as well as disciplinary action under University policies. To familiarize yourself with copyright and fair use policies, you are encouraged to visit the following website:


Disability Resource Center (DRC)  It is important to know that over two-thirds of the students in the DRC reported that this syllabus statement, often read aloud by the faculty during class, directed them to the DRC office.

The Disability Resource Center (DRC) coordinates all academic accommodations for students with documented disabilities. The DRC is the official office to review and house disability documentation for students, and to provide them with an official Academic Accommodation Plan to present to the faculty if an accommodation is warranted. Faculty should not provide students accommodations without being in receipt of this plan.

UNLV complies with the provisions set forth in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, offering reasonable accommodations to qualified students with documented disabilities. If you have a documented disability that may require accommodations, you will need to contact the DRC for the coordination of services. The DRC is located in the Student Services Complex (SSC), Room 137, and the contact numbers are: Voice (702) 895-0866, TDD (702) 895-0652, fax (702) 895-0651. For additional information, please visit:


Religious Holidays Policy -- Any student missing class quizzes, examinations, or any other class or lab work because of observance of religious holidays shall be given an opportunity during that semester to make up missed work. The make-up will apply to the religious holiday absence only. It shall be the responsibility of the student to notify the instructor no later than the last day at late registration of his or her intention to participate in religious holidays which do not fall on state holidays or periods of class recess. This policy shall not apply in the event that administering the test or examination at an alternate time would impose an undue hardship on the instructor or the university which could not be avoided.                            


Tutoring – The Academic Success Center (ASC) provides tutoring and academic assistance for all UNLV students taking UNLV courses.  Students are encouraged to stop by the ASC to learn more about subjects offered, tutoring times and other academic resources.  The ASC is located across from the Student Services Complex, #22 on the current UNLV map. Students may learn more about tutoring services by calling (702) 895-3177 or visiting the tutoring web site at:


UNLV Writing Center – The following statement is recommended for inclusion in course syllabi:

One-on-one or small group assistance with writing is available free of charge to UNLV students at the Writing Center, located in CDC-3-301. Although walk-in consultations are sometimes available, students with appointments will receive priority assistance.

Appointments may be made in person or by calling 895-3908. The student’s Rebel ID Card, a copy of the assignment (if possible), and two copies of any writing to be reviewed are requested for the consultation. More information can be found at:


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