Professor: 
Dave Kung 

Office: 
175 Schaefer Hall, x4433 (or 2408954433) 

Email: 
dtkung@smcm.edu 

Classroom & Time 
161 SH, 10am11:50 TR 

Text: 


Office Hours: 

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 K8 certification. We will spend most of
our class time doing group activities, working to develop mathematical
reasoning and problemsolving skills. Although the content will be similar to the
mathematics covered in the elementary school curriculum, you will find
difficult and interesting mathematical challenges packed within very familiar
concepts. The activities we work on will
be drawn from the workbook, as well as 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 as follows
Class Participation: 
10% 
Midterm Exam: 
20% 
Work with Students: 
20% 
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 studentathlete or have
special needs, please see me in the first two weeks of the semester.
Midterm Exam: The midterm exam will be given on October 9th at 6pm. There
is no time limit on the exam – I am more interested in knowing that you can solve mathematical
problems, not how fast you can do it.
Please mark this on your calendars and
inform me of any conflicts ASAP. Both
the midterm and the final will require significant amounts of writing, with the
emphasis on your mathematical reasoning.
Final Exam: The final exam is scheduled for December 16^{th}
at 9am. There will also be no time limit
on the final.
Working With
Students: You
will have two opportunities this semester to work with students. Once during the semester, we will be visited
by a class from a local school. In
preparation for their visit, you will choose activities appropriate for their
ability levels and predict how students will approach them. Afterwards, you will have the opportunity to
reflect on the experience, critiquing both your interactions with the students
and the materials you chose. I am currently
working on organizing these visits with local schools and will inform you of
the dates as soon as possible. It will
be next to impossible to make up work if you miss a class visit, so if there
are dates when you know you will be absent, please inform me immediately.
The
second opportunity for you to work with students will involve a clinical
interview with a student. Many of you
are currently working in schools and may be able to use those contacts to find
a suitable student. I will do what I can
to help others find kids. We will
discuss the content of these interviews later in the semester.
Written work: There
will be three types of written assignments in this course: homework, solution writeups,
and reflections.
Homework: From timetotime,
homework problems will be assigned from the book. Some of these will be collected and turned in
for credit.
Solution writeups: You will
be asked to write up some of the problems we do in class. These problem writeups 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 writeups 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
writeups (adding pictures and mathematical notation by hand if necessary). The
reflections, which will be more like essays, must be typed. Accept for the very
first 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 password to get into class on Thursday,
Sept. 4^{th} is “Math Rocks!” Don’t
forget it. 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.