MTHE 540 - Enriching the Teaching of Secondary School Mathematics
3 semester hours
This course is designed to help motivate students and pique their interest in mathematics. Hence, it is important to expose students to enrichment topics in mathematics that will help encourage them to find the subject matter interesting, appealing and motivational. Oftentimes, students view mathematics as a procedural discipline consisting of rules and standards algorithms, which, of course are important but can be easily forgotten — this is not the essence of mathematics. One of the benefits of exposing students to enrichment topics in mathematics is to emphasize conceptual understanding, which a student is less likely to forget. If conceptual understanding is emphasized, then a student can reconstruct a procedure that may have been forgotten. Also, if teachers are going to focus on the conceptual understanding of mathematical topics, they must have conceptual understandings of the mathematics themselves. One of the biggest challenges as we have been moving from procedurally oriented teaching to conceptually oriented teaching has been ensuring that the teachers have the necessary mathematical understandings.
Each enrichment activity presented in this course is an extension of the ‘mandated’ mathematics curriculum. Moving out of the confines of the syllabus to related topics and studying them in-depth can open up new areas of interests for students, which can be long-lasting and self-sustaining. Also, the enrichment units presented in each class session lend themselves to project-based learning, where students can work cooperatively to conjecture, validate, and prove a given mathematical situation. The overall purpose of this course is to stimulate the student to pursue mathematics study more seriously later on, or to motivate the student to improve his or her understanding of mathematical concepts, ideas, and principles.
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