Math 475.01 Spring 2015

Official Title. Math 475: Capstone Course for Secondary Teachers

Instructor. Eric Hsu, erichsu@sfsu.edu


Class Meetings. TuTh 2:10-3:25 in TH 404

Office Hours. By appointment at erichsu.youcanbook.me.

Web Page. Link at http://math.sfsu.edu/hsu


Prerequisites. Officially, Math; 335 and concurrent enrollment in Math 370, or consent of instructor.  Unofficially: this is your last Spring as a math major.


Bulletin Description. This course builds on students’ work in upper division mathematics to deepen their understanding of the mathematics taught in secondary school. Students will actively explore topics in algebra, analysis, geometry and statistics.


Informal Description. This is not primarily a class about teaching, it is a math content class delivered via interesting teaching. Much research shows that amount of coursework in mathematics does not correlate to teaching effectiveness. One issue is that the undergraduate curriculum usually is not explicitly linked to high school mathematics. This course is a chance for us to return to high school mathematics with advanced mathematical tools and maturity. We will look at key questions that come up in high school classrooms, and consider rigorous answers as well as explanations accessible to students.


Learning Objectives. Students will be able to (1) analyze and prioritize key big ideas from the high school curriculum, (2) analyze high school mathematics content both with rigor and in a way accessible to students and (3) see the use of mathematical reasoning in the work of teaching (for instance, in understanding student thinking, connecting student creativity to class content, making connections across the curriculum, finding extensions to the standard content).


Evaluation of Students. Assignments will be weighted: Homework (500 pts), Exams (400 pts), Class Contributions (100 pts). Course percentage will calculated out of 1000 pts and percentages in the interval [90%, ∞) will receive some kind of A, [80%, 90%) some kind of B, [70%, 80%) some kind of C and [60%, 70%) some kind of D. (-∞, 60%) is an F, but that won't be an issue, right?  Grades will be posted to the homework site through the semester.


Homework Site. I am planning for us to use a new homework site at realhw.com. This site is meant to work with the latest version of modern browsers with Javascript on. So, it works great with Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Opera on Macs and PCs. Notably, Internet Explorer 11 and below are NOT supported.  iOS devices seem to work as do newer Android mobile devices, but aren't well tested and they aren't fun to type math on. The formatting will be weird on small devices like phones.

Homework. Homework assignments are to be done in groups of 1-4 students. A group should submit a single write-up, with members and their contributions clearly listed, by the due date that we agree on, tentatively Thursday 11:59pm. Post it to the homework site (or in cases of dire technological failure, email). Do try to start the new assignment early so you can ask questions on the previous class session. 


Exams. In-class exams will be based on homework, so even though HW is created in groups, you must ensure that you can answer the questions independently. My current plan is to have 1 big quiz (150 pts each) and a final for 250 pts. The final exam will be given Tuesday May 19, 2015, 1:30-4:00.


Textbooks and Software. None required, except that your assignments must be entered into the realhw.com site. 


Course Accommodations. Students who need reasonable course accommodations (such as for religion or disabilities) are encouraged to discuss this with me in the first week.  The Disability Programs and Resource Center (DPRC) is available to facilitate the reasonable accommodations process. The DPRC is located in the Student Service Building and can be reached by telephone (voice/TTY 415-338-2472) or by email (dprc@sfsu.edu) or http://www.sfsu.edu/~dprc