History of Mathematics for Teachers of Grades 6-12

Meeting Times: Tuesday nights at East Burke Middle School, Icard, NC

Instructors: Dr. Sarah J. Greenwald, 828-262-2363, greenwaldsj@appstate.edu

Dr. Greg Rhoads, 828-262-2741 , gsr@math.appstate.edu

Appalachian State University
121 Bodenheimer
Walker Hall
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Boone, NC 28608
Department Phone 828-262-3050
Department Fax 828-265-8617

Description: Students benefit by learning mathematics within the context of its historical progression. The inclusion of women and minority mathematicians during discussions of mathematicians is also beneficial, as students will see mathematics as a discipline for everyone that transcends culture, time, race and gender. In this course we will examine the history of mathematics and its role in school classrooms. We will develop the ability to find good, reliable references and will use these references to create classroom worksheets and activities. In the process we will learn about the history of algebra, geometry, number theory and other areas of mathematics and about the culturally diverse mathematicians who worked in these areas.

This course is a required course for the Math concentration for the Masters of Arts in Middle Grades Education and a content elective for the Advanced Masters of Arts in Mathematics Teaching.

Required Resources: Agnesi to Zeno: Over 100 Vignettes from the History of Math by Sanderson Smith, Publisher: Key Curriculum Press; ISBN: 155953107X; (December 1996)

Geometry: Activities from Many CULTURES by Beatrice Lumpkin, Publisher: J Weston Walch; ISBN: 0825132851; (September 1998)

Handouts will also be provided. A loose leaf notebook will be helpful for organizing your papers.

Certain assignments will require that you have web access. Certain assignments will require that you complete your work on a word processor (such as Microsoft Word) so that you can e-mail your work to us as an attachment.

Attendance: Class attendance, class participation, and completed assignments handed in on time are expected. Late work will not be accepted. Attendance and participation will be included as part of your grade.

Methodology: This is a mathematics content course, which means that it will stimulate the intellectual growth of each participant. While some of the mathematics covered in the course will be related in meaningful ways to materials that can be taken into the classroom, the primary purpose of the course is your mathematical development. Even so, we will also see that no matter what the content topic, it is almost always possible to take some element of our work back to the classroom, although sometimes this requires creativity.

Attendance and Class Participation15%
Classwork and Homework60%
Final Project25%

Classwork and Homework: Problems and explorations will be given regularly. Some of these will be completed individually, while others will be completed in groups. You may be asked to write up solutions, reflections, or your reactions. You will be expected to share solutions and approaches in class.

Final Project: Each student will complete a project on the history of a content area. This project may include a written report and an oral presentation.

Each student will also develop one related lesson plan, notes for the teacher, and solutions. The notes for the teacher will reflect on the possible benefits and difficulties of implementation of the lesson plan and their relationship to the North Carolina Middle Grades 6-8 Mathematics Curriculum and/or the NCTM Principles and Standards.

NCTM's Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics
Students should have numerous and varied experiences related to the cultural, historical, and scientific evolution of mathematics so that they can appreciate the role of mathematics in the development of our contemporary society and explore relationships among mathematics and the disciplines it serves: the physical and life sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities. Throughout the history of mathematics, practical problems and theoretical pursuits have stimulated one another to such an extent that it is impossible to disentangle them.... It is the intent of this goal--learning to value mathematics--to focus attention on the need for student awareness of the interaction between mathematics and the historical situations from which it has developed and the impact that interaction has on our culture and our lives. (NCTM 1989, pp. 5-6)

Principles and Standards for School Mathematics
Mathematics is one of the greatest cultural and intellectual achievements of humankind, and citizens should develop an appreciation and understanding of that achievement" (NCTM 2000, p. 4).

NCTM Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (Grades 6-8)
NCTM Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (Grades 9-12)
North Carolina Mathematics Curriculum (Grades 6-8)
North Carlina Mathematics Curriculum (Grades 9-12)