More on the Mathematics Overview

 In his Hyperbolic Guitars blog, Michael Thayer writes:

I’ve been mulling over the one-year course idea some more. And what to my wondering eyes did appear (thank you, @tieandjeans) but this really spectacularly well-thought-out and well-organized course outline created by Henri Picciotto. It’s got everything, really, that I’d love to see in the course I’d proposed, and it does so in an authentic, constructionist, technology-rich, and meaningful way.

 Thanks! It appears my intentions did come through in spite of the outline format. He goes on:

And yet, there’s something about the original intent that nags at me. Why should students have to wait until their last year of high school to get that kind of math experience? Why should they already have had to suffer through 3 years of high school math, presumably not enjoying themselves or learning anything they have found of value, before taking this class?

I agree. I wrote it as a Year 4 outline because I was hired to do just that, but the outline mostly references material I’ve developed over the last few decades for use in grades 7-10. So yes, I do believe that this outline would work very well at the beginning of secondary school math. However, under such a scheme, it would almost certainly take longer than one year. The one-year claim is largely because under the Year 4 assumptions, this would be the second time the student is exposed to most of this material. I’m guessing that two years is a fair estimate of how long it would take if it were the students’ first exposure to it.

Of course, it would work better if it were implemented in a school-specific way. In particular, some of the material is (in my opinion) inappropriate for middle school students, and should be left for later. But those sorts of decisions should be made on each site by teachers who are acquainted with their students’ needs and capabilities.

I’ll respond to Mike’s one-year-course proposal in my next post.


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