Instructor: Dr. Cordero
Office: 425 Pickard Hall
Phone: (817) 272-5062
Office Hours: Tuesdays, Wednesdays 2:00 – 3:50 p.m., and by appointment.
Text materials: The course packet is available at Bird’s Copy Shop (208 S. East St., Arlington, TX 76010, (817) 459-1688).
This course is designed to prepare future elementary school teachers mathematically to teach math (as opposed to pedagogically, which is the goal of EDUC 4372). It does this in two main ways: by teaching mathematics which is relevant (not identical) to the mathematics they will be teaching, and by modeling a mathematics classroom through problem-solving activities, cooperative groups, and holding students responsible for deciding (reasoning) what is correct.
There will be almost no lecturing in this course. To help you develop your intuitive reasoning and problem-solving skills, we will spend most of our class time working in small groups on problems from the course packet. An important part of learning to
solve problems is being willing to struggle with a problem even after you get stuck, and this is one of the first things you will face this term. You may be surprised by how much you can do if you just keep at it!
We will usually discuss the problems in a large group after most groups have finished them. Sometimes you will be asked to write up your ideas and solutions, but always you are expected to think about the problems, participate in solving them, and communicate your ideas with others. Communicating your ideas clearly to others is as important as developing them in the first place.
Note that this is a mathematics content course, and not a pedagogy course. We hope that taking this course will help you be a better teacher. Students who come out of this course generally feel a lot more comfortable about teaching mathematics, and about being a mathematical authority in the classroom.
ATTENDANCE AND PARTICIPATION:
These are a significant part of your grade because this course is more an experience than a set of material to be learned. Most of what I hope will happen for you in this course will take place inside the classroom, working in groups and talking with others. You may miss up to 3 days (excused or not) without penalty; after that it starts affecting your grade. Arriving late (after we have started class) or leaving early counts as half an absence.
Your grade for the course will be determined as follows:
Two exams -20% each
Attendance and participation -20%
Written work you will turn in - 40%.
Each absence after the third will take two percentage points off of your attendance and
participation score. Grades will be assigned as follows according to the total percentage
F: 59 and below
These will be similar in nature to the problems we work in class, but short enough that you should be able to complete them in the time given. A sample exam will be distributed before the actual exam in order to give you a closer feel for it, though you should not expect it to serve as an exact blueprint for the real thing. There will be a midterm and a final exam (both in our usual room) on the following dates (subject to change):
Midterm – Thursday March 13th
Final exam - Thursday May 8th, 8:00 a-10:30 a
This will have two components: write-ups (also called problem reports) and reflections. A WRITE-UP is a detailed solution to a problem we discussed in class. These write-ups should be readable independently of any worksheet on which they are based, in good English and either legibly handwritten in ink or word-processed. They should always include the following (although you need not use this form):
1. A statement of the problem at hand,
2. Any strategies you used to attack the problem,
3. The solution you obtained, with an explanation of how you got it (and how you know it is complete), and
4. A conclusion that says what we have learned from the problem.
Communication of what you understand (even if it's not a complete understanding) is at least as much the point as finding the solution.
I will also sometimes ask you to write a REFLECTION on a rather less concrete issue, like "What does it mean to get stuck?" These essays, usually a page or two in length, will be graded more loosely, more on how much thought went into it than on organization and content.
I will let you know at the time I assign written work when it is due, but typically it will be due in class a week from the time it is assigned. At the end of the semester, each student will have the opportunity to rewrite one assignment.
January 13 Classes begin
January 29 Census date
February 21 Last day to drop with a W if failing; end of first six weeks
March 13 Midterm examination
March 17-21 Spring Break
April 11 Last day to drop a course
May 2 Last day of classes
May 8 Final exam, 8:00 – 10:30 AM