Mathematics

The course, mathematics for Educators II, is the second of a two part of a course intended for elementary education students. It is a five week course and we studied the basic ideas of mathematics that could be taught in the classroom. I feel that I have learned a lot in this course in the past five weeks. The focus of part two of this class was measurement, geometry, probability and data analysis. Data analysis and probability are the first concepts tackled in this course. I learned that probability can be determined experimentally or theoretically.

Sample space, events and the Law of Large Numbers are covered as well, this lead into the Multiplication Rule for Probabilities and a short study of simulations. Other topics covered were odds, expected value and conditional probability. I learned that different types of data can be interpreted through the use of graphs, tables and charts, pictographs, line plots, stem-and-leaf plots, frequency tables, histograms, bar graphs, line graphs, pie (circle) charts, box-and-whisker- plots and scatter plots are thoroughly discussed as well as mean median and mode.

The last topic of discussion in this chapter is the misuse of statistics and ways to avoid it. By the end of the first week the student should be able to apply the basic concepts of probability, use the appropriate methods to analyze data and develop inferences and predictions based on the data. In the second week of class we covered applying characteristics and properties of two- and three-dimensional geometric shapes in problem solving as well as Identifying geometric figures and shapes based on mathematical arguments.

We also covered using visualization, spatial reasoning, and geometric modeling to solve problems. Week two we also did an individual assignment to help us understand geometry. Week three we covered the application of geometry using chapters 10 and 11. We analyze geometric definitions and relationships including congruency, triangle properties and triangle inequalities. Circles and arcs are another concept studied as well as proportions between parallel lines and congruent segments.

This helped me to study similarity and proportions between polygons and triangle. At the end of week three I was able to specify locations using coordinate geometry, describe spatial relationships using coordinate geometry and use symmetry to analyze mathematical situations. In week four we covered Identify the relevant attributes of objects when solving problems as well as applying appropriate techniques, tools, and formulas to determine measurements.

In week five we synthesize the mathematics concepts addressed in this course. As a team we worked on a power point dealing with a three dimensional shape and we discussed the surface, faces, sides, volume as well as vertices. As a student in this class, I have found it to be very empowering. I have learned that it will take patience, the ability to break large concepts into small pieces that are easily understood, and a sense of humor to develop into a math teacher.

I say develop because it will take time and lots of trial and error to get to that stage. If I could change something of mathematics instruction, I think the only change I would try for is for teachers to not take themselves too serious all the time and for them to make sure that their students know that their questions need to be asked, no matter how silly or insignificant they may seem. There is no such thing as a silly or stupid question.