Math 577.01 Fall 10 Syllabus


Official Title. Math 577: Math in Middle School III.  (26708)

Instructor. Eric Hsu, SCI 211, erichsu@math.sfsu.edu


Class MeetingsTuesdays 5:00-7:45, from 24-AUG-10 to 14-DEC-10 in Thornton Hall 425

Office Hours. Tu 4:00-5:00 and by appointment.

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


Prerequisites. Math 576 with grade of C or better.


Bulletin Description. Continues the work begun in MATH 575 and 576 to prepare students with content knowledge needed to teach algebra, geometry, and probability and statistics in middle school.  

Informal Description. This course is designed primarily for current and prospective middle school teachers who wish to improve their understanding of the mathematics that they will teach. The course will focus on three of the major strands in the middle school curriculum:  Algebraic thinking, Geometry, and Statistics.


Other aspects of mathematics, including problem solving and reasoning, will play an important part as well. In particular, students will be expected to write clear explanations of much of their work, and the course will focus on ideas and understanding rather than on mechanical procedures. Math 577 is the third of a four-course sequence.


Many of the activities and assignments in this course will be drawn directly from curriculum materials developed recently for middle and high school students. Thus, the work in the course will relate directly to the middle school classroom, but we will go beyond the level that would be appropriate for middle school students.


Goals. This course has several goals. Over the course of the semester, a student should:

  • Learn mathematics that was not previously known.
  • Deepen her or his understanding of mathematical ideas that are already familiar.
  • Expand her or his idea of what mathematics is and develop an appreciation and enjoyment of mathematics.
  • Increase confidence in her or his ability to examine and solve mathematical problems, based on increased knowledge and experience.
  • Examine the process of learning mathematics and develop techniques and ideas for teaching mathematics.
Homework Assignments. Some problems on the homework will follow up on material discussed in class. Other parts of the homework will ask you to explore new ideas, and you should expect to have your brain “stretched” by some of the homework problems and tasks.


No late assignments will be accepted for credit without prior permission. Your two lowest scores on homework assignments will be dropped for grading purposes. You may turn in late assignments in order to get feedback on the correctness of your work, but these assignments will not be graded. (Note: Although assignments may differ in length or maximum point total, each will count equally toward your grade.)


Examinations. There will be two take-home midterm exams, based on the algebra and geometry segments of the course. The final exam will be comprehensive but will focus on the statistics part of the course. Exams will reflect the material covered in the in-class activities and discussions and the homework. The final exam occurs on Dec 14, 5:00-7:45 in our usual classroom.


Grades. Grades will be determined as follows: Written assignments (40%), 2 Midterm exams (15% each), Final exam (20%), and Class Participation (10%). 





Sources. Many of the activities and assignments for this course will be taken from the following sources:

  • Connected Mathematics (CM), published by Dale Seymour Publications
  • Mathematics in Context (MiC), published by Encyclopedia Britannica
  • MathScape (MS), published by Creative Publications
  • Interactive Mathematics Program (IMP), published by Key Curriculum Press

Each of these is a multi-year curriculum program, made up of individual units that focus on specific areas within mathematics. The first three programs are designed for middle school grades (5–8 or 6–8) and the fourth is designed for high school (grades 9–12). Activites from these programs will be identified by the initials of the program (CM, MiC, MS, or IMP) and the title of the unit from which the material is taken.


Textbooks. None.
Students with Disabilities. If you are a disabled student who requires special accommodation in this course, you must be registered with the Disability Resource Center.  Your counselor there will give you a letter that you must give to your instructor.  At that time you will set up an appointment to meet and discuss accommodations with your instructor.  This must happen by June 19.  Disability Resource Center is located in  SSB 110  (Student Services Building).  Phone: 338-2472 or email: drc@sfsu.edu
Official Student Learning Outcomes
  • Recognize and represent situations and solve problems using linear, quadratic and exponential functions and create descriptions of situations that can be represented by these functions.
  • Explain and construct examples that show the relationship of the Factor Theorem and the Zero Product Property to the graphs of  polynomial functions.
  • Develop a variety of ways to explain and justify the development of the laws of exponents from the basic definition of positive integer exponents.
  • Develop and explain area formulas for polygons and solve problems requiring their use.
  • Use the fundamental principle of counting, permutations and combinations to solve problems and be able to explain why a particular method of counting is appropriate for a particular problem.  Use organized lists and create examples to explain choices of counting procedures.
  • Use and explain the application of the binomial theorem in calculating probabilities.