Professor: |
Dave Kung |
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Office: |
175 Schaefer Hall, x4433 (or
240-895-4433) |
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Email: |
dtkung@smcm.edu |
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Text: |
Materials from the |
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Office Hours: |
and by appointment. |

**Overview:** Math 161 is a course primarily for students
who are seeking teaching certification. Although more generally applicable, it
will be geared toward those seeking K-8 certification. We will spend most of
our class time doing group activities, working to develop mathematical
reasoning and problem-solving skills. The activities will mostly be drawn from
the course packet; other times I will give out supplemental handouts. These
problems are designed to be interesting and difficult - you should expect to
spend some real time and effort (both in and out of class) struggling with
them. However, by collaborating with your classmates, you will succeed at all
of them!

As a teacher, you will find that your ability
to communicate mathematical ideas will be much more important than your ability
to just solve problems. Toward this end, you will be expected to discuss
mathematics in class and to write out complete solutions to problems. The
emphasis will always be on explaining your reasoning
and reflecting on the process of mathematical reasoning in general.

**Grading:
**Your grade in this course will be
determined by

Class Participation: |
15% |

Midterm Exam: |
20% |

School Observations: |
5% |

Class Visit: |
10% |

Final Exam: |
20% |

Written Work: |
30% |

**Class Participation: **Learning in this class is considered to be everyone's
shared responsibility. Part of that responsibility is attendance; when you are
not here, not only do you miss important work, but the entire class misses out
on your contribution. You may miss up to 3 days for reasons of health,
religion, etc. without penalty. Arriving late or leaving early counts as half
an absence. If something comes up which will cause you to miss class, please
contact me ASAP (preferably by email). If you are a student-athlete or have
special needs, please see me in the first two weeks of the semester.

**Midterm Exam: **The midterm exam will be given on Tuesday, October 21
at

**Final Exam: **The final exam is scheduled for

**School Observations:** Once during the semester, you will visit a math classroom in the St.
Mary’s school system. For those of you
also taking Education classes which require classroom observation, you may use
one of those observation periods for this course – provided that it is a math
class. A short reflection paper will submitted
after each observation, and we will discuss your experiences in class.

**Class Visit**: Once during the semester,
we will be visited by a class (or two) from a local school. In preparation for their visit, you will find
activities appropriate for their ability levels and hypothesize what difficulties
they will have with the activity. Afterwards, you will have the opportunity to
reflect on the experience, critiquing both your interactions with the students
and the materials you chose.

**Written work: **There
will be two types of written assignments in this course: problem write-ups and
reflections.

Problem write-ups: You will
be asked to write up some of the problems we do in class and to write
reflections on some other related topics. Your problem write-ups should be
clear and complete. They should include a clear statement of the problem, so
that no reference to the text material is necessary. (In other words, if you
hand your report to a friend who has never seen the problem, she should be able
to understand the problem and your solution without you having to say
anything.) They should describe the strategies you used to solve the problem,
including those that didn't work so well and why they didn't work. In your
description of your solution, you must explain why it is a solution as well as
what the limitations of your solution are (Is it the only solution? Does it
apply to all cases of the problem, or only to specific cases?). You should also
include a conclusion that discusses what we can take away from the problem. In
general, your write-ups should give a clear idea of the mathematical thinking
that went into your work.

Reflections: About every two weeks, I will
assign an essay which forces you to reflect on mathematics, learning, teaching,
or some related topic. The more you've thought deeply about these topics, the
better a teacher you'll be, and the goal of these assignments is to get you to
think deeply.

I strongly encourage you to type your
write-ups (adding pictures and mathematical notation if necessary). The
reflections, which will be more like essays, must be typed. Except for the
first “Reflection” assignment, you will have at least a week between when I
give any assignment and when it is due.

**Questions:** Feel free to get in touch with me anytime during the
semester with any questions or concerns you have. The more feedback you give
me, the better I can adjust the course to your needs.

**Philosophy
and Practice: **This is a course in
mathematics, not math methods. Our focus will be on learning mathematics
together by solving interesting problems, alone and in groups. Since all of us
are in the process (which goes on forever) of becoming teachers, it will be
appropriate to occasionally step back and reflect on pedagogy. I encourage you
to do this in your written work whenever you feel so inclined, and to bring
things up in class discussions when appropriate.