MTH133 s2019: Recitations and Labs


Three types of activities will take place during the Tuesday recitations: Group Worksheets, Computer-based Labs, and Mini-Tests. Please consult the course schedule for what happens when.

Time and place

All recitations take place on Tuesdays in Wells Hall.

  • sec022: 12:40-1:30 -- A132 -- TA: Xin Tong
  • sec023: 12:40-1:30 -- A332 -- TA: Sugil Lee
  • sec024: 12:40-1:30 -- A334 -- TA: Woong Bae Park
  • sec025: 1:50-2:40 -- A126 -- TA: Cheuk Wai Yau
  • sec026: 1:50-2:40 -- A201 -- TA: Xin Tong
  • sec027: 1:50-2:40 -- A232 -- TA: Sugil Lee
  • sec028: 12:40-1:30 -- A126 -- TA: Cheuk Wai Yau


There will be 5 Mini-Tests over the semester. See the Mini-Test and Exam page for more details.

Group Worksheets

There will be 3 Group Worksheet days (Weeks 1, 7, and 13) during this semester. The Week 7 and 13 worksheets double as exam review. Attendance will be taken during the Group Worksheet days; the worksheets themselves will however not be graded.

On worksheet days students should self-organize into groups of no more than three and work on the worksheet. The TA will be on hand to answer any and all questions.


There will be 7 Lab days during this semester. During the Lab days you will explore calculus concepts with the aid of computer activities powered by MATLAB. Prior MATLAB knowledge or computer programming experience is not required. The role of MATLAB in these labs is to serve as a platform for computer simulations; your interaction with MATLAB will consist almost exclusively of:

  1. Running code that have been prepared for you by the Instructors to see a simulation in action, and interpret the result using calculus concepts.
  2. Making small modifications to pre-written code to extend the simulations.

It is your responsibility during the first week of class to obtain a copy of MATLAB (which is free to all MSU students); see the MATLAB Info Page for instructions.

What happens during lab

  • Prior to arriving to lab, you will have received, by e-mail, a Lab Document in the MATLAB Live Script format with extension .mlx, as well as additional data files as needed. Links to the files will also be made available on the course news section of the main course page.
  • Upon arriving to lab, you will be randomly assigned into teams of 2-3 students by your TA. On rare occasions there may be teams with 4 students.
  • The TA will distribute a printed Lab Worksheet, one copy per team.
  • One or more (ideally, all) members of your team will open up the Lab Document for viewing using either
    • a copy of MATLAB installed on his or her laptop computer, or
    • the MATLAB Online service.
  • For installing MATLAB and for obtaining a MathWorks account for using MATLAB Online, see the MATLAB Info Page. Note that this process can take up to two business days and it is your responsibility to ensure your have access prior to the first Lab session.
  • Following the instructions of the Lab Document, recording your answers to the exercises in the Lab Worksheet as requested.
  • At the end of the class (or if you complete the Lab), turn in the Lab Worksheet to your TA, making sure the names of all team members are recorded on the worksheet.

Suggestions for successful teamwork

A very important part of the Lab experience is working with your fellow students in randomly assigned teams. Spartans hail from all over the world and carry with them diverse backgrounds, and your fellow classmates have their own strengths and weaknesses. Effectively pooling together resources to complete a task is an useful skill throughout your life, extending beyond your time at MSU.

We ask all students to make the Lab sessions a safe space for practicing interacting with your fellow students, and be respectful to one another. Some strategies:

  • Try to express your opinions in friendly ways; don't put down other or make them feel dumb.
  • Listen carefully; don't tune out and try not to interrupt your teammates.
  • Involve everyone; don't rush and don't leave a teammate behind.
  • Stay on topic: you have limited amount of time to complete the assignment.


  • Each lab will be graded out of 10 points.
  • Exercises with numerical answer and those asking for a short piece of MATLAB code will be graded for correctness only. Note that numerical questions often seek approximate answers, and grading will be fairly generous in these cases.
  • Some exercises will ask for an answer along with justification; for those questions a carefully argued justification leading to the "wrong" answer with receive more credit than a superficially argued justification together with a right answer. This reflects a main learning goal of the labs, which is to think deeply about the calculus concepts you learned, and to try to solve a problem outside of your comfort zone. Or, as some say, "it's not the destination; it's the journey."
  • For the same reason, solution keys will not be published for labs. If that bothers you, you are welcome to our office hours.
  • Sometimes you may find an exercise easy to do, but its justification hard to provide. We ask you to spend time providing the justification because when working in a team environment, the communication skill to explain to your teammates your solution is often as important as finding the correct answer in the first place.