Mathematics Education 377

Mathematics Teaching and the Classroom

Fall 2011


Meeting Time:           MWF 8-9:50                           Classroom:                TMCB 154

Professor:                   Dr. Blake Peterson                  Office Phone:             422-7784

Office:                        TMCB 193B                           email:

Office Hours:             MWF 10:00-10:45      W 1:30-2:30               

and by appointment


Philosophy of Course: In becoming a teacher, there are three main pieces of knowledge that must be gained: content knowledge (mathematics), pedagogical knowledge (voice, posture, classroom management, cooperative learning, etc.), and pedagogical content knowledge (take the mathematics that you know and design pedagogical tasks that lead students to that same mathematical understanding). You have had courses in pedagogy and mathematics. The purpose of this course is to deepen your pedagogical content knowledge. In particular, learn how to look at the mathematics that is being taught from the perspective of the learner so that tasks are sequenced in a way that is logical to the learner, a challenge to the learner and yet attainable.


Course Description: The majority of the time spent in class will be students watching students present mini-lessons. It is important that every student approach this task as a valuable learning experience. There is a tendency in this situation to think, “I already know the mathematics that they are teaching so what do I have to learn.” However, knowing mathematics for your own use is very different than knowing mathematics to teach it. As a result, each class session should be approached with questions like: “If I were teaching this, what would I do?”, “What is the big mathematical idea here?” and “If I were a student in this class, could I see that big mathematical idea?” etc.

For details about the class schedule go to the class website at and click on the Schedule


Text:     Mathematics Curriculum Packets distributed in class.

            Focus in High School Mathematics: Reasoning and Sense Making published by NCTM



                              Daily Lesson Plans                                         4 @ 5%           20%

                              Lessons Taught

(Prep, Lesson Plan, Reflection)           2 @ 10%         20%

                              Observation write-ups                                     6 @ 2.5%        15%

                              Research Lessons and

 Individual Reflections                                     15%

                              Final Exam                                                                              20%

                              Observation Professionalism                                                   5%

                              MEA activity attendance                                                          5%



NOTE: It is possible that other assignments may be given during the course of the semester. In that case, the above percentages may be adjusted but will remain with the same approximate proportions.



Attendance: Because of the nature of this course, attendance is EXTREMELY important. This course should be viewed as the beginning of your student teaching which, in turn, should be thought of as a full time job. It is not acceptable to be late to teach a class when there is a room full of students relying on you. Except for extreme sickness or other family emergencies, it is expected that you will be in attendance and on time every day of the class. If such emergencies arise, please contact Dr. Peterson immediately.

Tardies: If you are tardy (but less than 15 minutes late), you will automatically lose 1% from your grade. If you are more than 15 minutes late, you will lose 2% from your grade. You will be given one free tardy for the semester.

Absences: If class is missed, 4% will be deducted from your grade for each class session missed. This can be made up by observing an approved teacher in the public schools for the same amount of time that you have missed class. You will be required to write a one-page detailed description and analysis of what you observed. All absences must be made up within two weeks of the absence. If you have more than 3 absences, you can only make up 2% for each of the absences. You will be given one free absence for the semester.


Professionalism: When you go out into the schools, you need to represent yourself and BYU well. You also need so show respect for the schools you visit and the teachers you observe. Some aspects of professionalism that you should attend to are: