HS 422 / MS 456
Strategies for Teaching Mathematics
Fall 2003


Section 1: Wednesday, 4:30-7:10, L215
Instructor: Heidi Burgiel, hlb@mit.edu, (508) 531-1430
Office Hours: Tuesday 11-12, Thursday 3-4; L106

Text: There will be no formal text for this course. As described below, students will select readings from current research and provide copies for themselves and their classmates.

Course web page: http://webhost.bridgew.edu/hburgiel/HS422/

Course Description: Strategies, including methods, materials and media for teaching mathematics are studied. Developing competency and versatility is stressed through simulations, teaching analyses and observation.

In order to take advantage of anticipated diversity of student experience and philosophy, this course will largely be presented in seminar or discussion format. The typical class session will consist of four parts:

Topic of the Day: Students present and discuss practical concerns about teaching.
Teaching Practice: Students participate in mock teaching exercises or analyze video tapes of teachers in action.
Teaching Theory: Students share and discuss research results in mathematics education.
Project of the Month: Students analyze projects that might appear in a geometry, algebra or statistics unit.

Grades for the course will be determined as follows:

Field experience required but not included in the grading.

Last day to withdraw from this course with a grade of W: 10/7/03
Last day to withdraw from this course: 11/13/03

Final Project, due 12/10/03: Students design teaching materials for use in their own classrooms, implementing one of the projects of the month or a similar project.

Homework: There will be homework related to the project of the month but it will not be collected. Solutions will be posted or discussed in class.

Class Participation: There will be no long lectures in this class; the majority of time in class should be spent in discussion. Consequently, attendance at and participation in the class are crucial to the success of this course; each class period accounts for approximately 2% of your final grade. Please try to remain alert and involved, despite late hours and busy schedules. In addition, the usual rules of courtesy apply; please turn cell phones off and refrain from discussing subjects other than mathematics.

Make-up work: A large part of the grade depends on scheduled presentations to the class. Failing to attend a class at which one is scheduled to make a presentation is comparable to failing to attend a class at which one is expected to teach. If absolutely unable to make a scheduled presentation, please notify the instructor in advance and also try to arrange a "substitute" presenter. Due to the nature of the assignments, it is more likely to be possible to make up work missed early in the semester.

Materials: Pencil and paper will be required for in-class exercises. Students may need ruler, compass, protractor, graph paper, colored pencils, scientific calculator or computer for work on projects of the month.

Office hours: I will be available in my office during these hours for consultation on a first-come-first-served basis. You do not need an appointment in advance. In addition, many brief matters can be handled directly after class, and in special cases we can schedule appointments at other times.

I will check my email frequently and try to respond in a timely manner. If you miss class, please do not email me asking what you missed; you can either visit me in my office or contact a fellow student to learn what went on during class.

Additional help: The Educational Resources Center on the second floor of the Maxwell Library should meet most of your needs. You may be able to get help with the Project of the Month at the Mathematics Services desk in the Academic Achievement Center. The world wide web has many good resources for teachers (and likely even more bad resources). I've collected a few of these resources in a web page of useful links.

Academic conduct: The Academic Misconduct Policy will be enforced in this class as described in the student handbook.


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